Regarding George Will's March 24 column, "Ryan was right about the culture of poverty in U.S":

Wouldn't it be lovely if marriage could solve the problems of poverty? As soon as the couple says "I do," they leap to a higher income bracket and educational level, and their family becomes the Cleavers. Paul Ryan, Will and their ilk seem to believe that this fairy tale can come true. News flash: Poor people, like everyone else, overwhelmingly marry within their own economic class, so how these miracles can occur is not clear.

In making his case that poverty revolves around inner-city, single black mothers, Will avoids discussion of other single parents - single fathers, divorced and widowed parents, whites and the rural poor. He holds up a model half a century old developed by a man Will would otherwise denounce as a liberal. I'm surprised there was no mention of Ronald Reagan's welfare queens.

What is happening today can't be laid at the feet of single black mothers. The middle class is disintegrating, the working class has been abandoned and the poor are increasingly left on their own. The aspirations of millions are disappearing, despite the myth that one can accomplish anything in America.

Ryan and Will are lucky that they've never had to endure poverty. It's easy for them to pontificate instead of trying to find solutions. Both subscribe to the idea that anything that's done to help people diminishes the recipients. Things that would really help single mothers climb out of poverty, such as low-cost or subsidized child care so they could work, are derided as handouts. This truly creates a double bind and makes no sense.

Ryan and Will don't hate poverty. It's poor people they can't stand. So instead of ranting against the capitalist masterminds whose work has helped to expand poverty, they choose an easy target - inner-city black single mothers.


Egg Harbor City