Deserving to be poor

Via Economist’s View, Paul Krugman notes a pattern in out post racial rhetoric:

So what’s this all about? One reason…, Daniel Little suggested in a recent essay, is market ideology: If the market is always right, then people who end up poor must deserve to be poor. I’d add that some leading Republicans are, in their minds, acting out adolescent libertarian fantasies. “It’s as if we’re living in an Ayn Rand novel right now,”declared Paul Ryan in 2009.

But there’s also, as Mr. Little says, the stain that won’t go away: race.

In a much-cited recent memo, Democracy Corps … reported on the results of focus groups held with members of various Republican factions. They found the Republican base “very conscious of being white in a country that is increasingly minority” — and seeing the social safety net both as something that helps Those People, not people like themselves, and binds the rising nonwhite population to the Democratic Party. And, yes, the Medicaid expansion many states are rejecting would disproportionately have helped poor blacks.