Reich crispy.

A mostly political Weblog.
Sept. 3 2002 4:10 AM

Reich Crispy

Plus: Is it reform -- or R & R?

(Continued from Page 1)

If the phrase "homeland security" fails to be the best match for the country's mood or memory, the president can always change it.

1) Unfortunately, the NYT joining the cause is unlikely to win over many Bushies, who loathe the Times. 2) A better tack, suggested by Becker's reporting is this: It's a Clinton-era phrase. Bush can blame him3) Shouldn't Peggy Noonan get some credit for being the first, as far as I know, to dis "homeland" in public? 4) Note again that even the "good," patriotic meaning of "homeland" --  "your roots, the region where you grew up, your identity, where you belong" -- is a bad and un-American meaning. We're a country of people who abandoned their regions and roots and even identities because they rightly recognized that other things (e.g. life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) are more important (a point Noonan made in a second anti-Heimat column). Outside the U.S., too, geography-based identity politics -- of which Islamic fundamentalism is one conspicuous example -- is not something to be celebrated or encouraged. ... [Do you think it's an accident that two NYT pieces you like -- Becker's and Kaufman's (see below) -- appear on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, in one of the least-read papers of the year? It's all part of the conspiracy, don't you see?--ed. You're beginning to sound like an obsessive crank. Think positive!]  10:15 P.M.

Kaufman vs. Bernstein: It's a blowout! The NYT gives front-page play to an excellent Leslie Kaufman story  on how the predictions from the left that welfare caseloads would soar once the economy went sour are proving wrong. The long-anticipated welfare increase

has not happened in New York City, which has the largest number of public assistance cases of any city in the nation. Nor has it happened in many other large urban areas.

Although unemployment in New York City has risen more than 20 percent from its low in March and the numbers of families calling themselves homeless have jumped to record levels, the number of people who get public assistance has tumbled to 418,277, down 9.5 percent since the start of the year.

But wasn't it only seven-and-a-half months ago that the NYT ran a piece, co-authored by Raymond Hernandez and the wildly-biased Nina Bernstein, under the headline

Welfare Rolls Grew in City Late Last Year

It was! On January 17, 2002, Hernandez and Bernstein wrote that

For the first time in six years, New York City's welfare rolls began to rise by several thousand people in the late fall, adding to growing concerns among government officials nationwide that the country's revamped welfare system may be caught short in the recession.

What's more, in their second graf, Hernandez and Bernstein cited a "new study [that] projects that unemployment could drive the number of public assistance recipients up 14 percent by next fall."  The "shift has been abrupt," they declared,  suggesting that New York might be one of the states running out of federal welfare money due to "surging caseloads."

In New York City alone, today's report projects, the caseload can be expected to rise by 66,000 by September, reaching 530,000 and leaving the current budget for grants short by $40 million.

It's not September yet, but the actual, real figure certainly looks like it will be closer to the 418,000 in Kaufman's story.

TODAY IN SLATE

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