I noted yesterday that nearly one-third of all American farmers lack health insurance. (About the same rate as for other, nonfarm "self-employed" workers.)
In this post I argued that Democrats could make some progress on guaranteeing access to health care for all Americans by talking more about these uninsured farmers. My theory is that this would help to counteract the "immorally moralistic and racial mythology that accompanies their usual attacks on 'welfare handouts for the undeserving and lazy poor.' Talking about access to health care for farmers, it seems to me, would help to combat these false and evil myths."
That's a bit elliptical. Kevin Drum raises a similar question much more bluntly:
Do Americans hate welfare because they think all the money goes to blacks?
Short answer: Yes. Both because of old-fashioned American racism and because of decades of hard work by GOP strategists employing the "Southern strategy" and nurturing, feeding and rechanneling this racism to great electoral effect.
In case you've missed the code-word speeches and the "welfare-queen" mythmaking and you don't find this self-evident, Kevin links to a few sites that provide a bit of hard evidence: this post from Robert Tagorda, this paper (.pdf) from economists Dora L. Costa and Matthew E. Kahn, and (via Tagorda and commenter Visible Hand at Kevin's) this Economist review of Fighting Poverty in the U.S. and Europe, by Alberto Alesina and Edward Glaeser.