“It’s not going to be the end of the world, honestly, even if you’re on nutrition assistance from the federal government,” Kristol added. “I believe that no one is going to starve in Arkansas because of the shutdown.”
It's kind of a well-worn truism that everyone in America thinks he or she is middle-class, no matter what his or her actual income is. We all assume that we are ordinary and there's some "really" rich that's far above what we make, no matter what that is. And we seem to kind of grossly underestimate how many of us are poor or what being poor is like.
I mean, Bill Kristol can believe whatever he wants, but people are suffering in this country already and they will suffer worse if government aid runs out. (WIC, for instance, in Tennessee might not last through next week, if the government shutdown continues. So, I hope you're not a poor baby who needs to be formula fed.) Being poor isn't just lazing about your house all day, playing video games and waiting for your government check to clear.
But I think this quote is interesting because it illustrates a problem we have as a country facing the massive income inequality we have. While it's true that some people believe that people are poor because they deserve it — if they want to eat, let them work (never mind that there aren't jobs) — there are a lot of people like Kristol who just don't seem to believe that really poor people really exist.
The first group of people are jerks, but they're jerks who at least are living in the same reality as the rest of us. How do you begin to find common ground with people who literally can't imagine that you might starve if you can't get food stamps? How can you get people to help you solve your problems if you can't get them to believe you exist?