I get Kristoff's point about "soul-crushing dependency," and I don't deny that well intentioned social programs sometimes (though sometimes anecdotally) have unintended consequences. Just not sure that this is the best example.

This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire.

Some young people here don’t join the military (a traditional escape route for poor, rural Americans) because it’s easier to rely on food stamps and disability payments.

Heaven forfend!

Rich people sometimes forget that they need poor people—to cut their lawns, to pick up their garbage, to fight their wars. Yet another reminder that one of the biggest American myths is that we live in a classless society.