and the poor were, what they were used to being,
the creators of wealth not, as now they are,
an expensive nuisance.
Letter to Philip, W.H. Auden. 1969.
This echo sounded by the modest proposal from the Tennessee legislators, using school test scores to deny welfare to families with underperforming children. Dickens would not have thought to make a villain so cruel.
The bill was withdrawn when its author was shamed by a little girl following him around the Capitol. He's still keen on punishing the poor, though:
"Stacey Campfield asked the state Senate to further study the bill, giving him the opportunity to bring it back up next year."
Watch for him to sneak it through in a midnight session, after the children have all gone to bed in their cardboard boxes.
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