William Julius Wilson

Let’s give Mitt Romney the benefit of the doubt: He didn’t really mean it when he said, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” Or, let’s just say he cares about them no less than he cares about the rest of us.

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When Newt Gingrich proposed that poor children should be put to work—for a “three- or four-hour-a-day job,” he clarified this week—he was rightly accused of threatening national child-labor laws. But he was also displaying a curious lack of familiarity with his own political accomplishments. Gingrich suggests that his proposal is meant to resolve an acute crisis: That kids from the projects don’t see anyone around them working for a living. “Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,” Gingrich said.

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The steady accretion of decades of social programs at the federal level leads to frequent violations of the duck test. For instance, just because a neighborhood’s subsidized housing might exhibit the same physical and social problems as distressed public housing, that doesn’t mean it’s public housing. It could be something else entirely--project-based Section 8, or tax credit units, or single-family homes with FHA-insured mortgages.

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We know William Julius Wilson, star Harvard sociologist, best for his articulate presentation of the structural analysis of black poverty: low-skill manufacturing jobs moved away from city centers just as middle-class role models took off for the suburbs. Result: high concentration of poor blacks. "Segregation," that is - and you know what happens when you get a bunch of ... Well, at least that's one implication of the thesis as I see it. But never mind. Wilson is considered a hero for it, which gives a certain punch to the way his latest book is billed.

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We know William Julius Wilson, star Harvard sociologist, best for his articulate presentation of the structural analysis of black poverty: low-skill manufacturing jobs moved away from city centers just as middle-class role models took off for the suburbs. Result: high concentration of poor blacks. “Segregation,” that is – and you know what happens when you get a bunch of ...   Well, at least that’s one implication of the thesis as I see it. But never mind. Wilson is considered a hero for it, which gives a certain punch to the way his latest book is billed.

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