Harry Reid Pounded for Echoing The Atlantic, David Brooks

Reid's assertion that unemployed men may "become abusive" has big supporters

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Michael Kinsley once said, "a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth." In that sense, it appears Harry Reid has gaffed. On Monday, the Senate Majority leader warned Congress about the dangers of not passing a jobs bill. "Men, when they're out of work, tend to become abusive," Reid said. The Hill's Michael O'Brien found the remarks "controversial." And Reid was quickly lampooned in some conservative circles for depicting men as base creatures: "Harry say man no have job, man hit," quipped one blogger.

But whether he knew it or not, Reid was in good company. Don Peck's massive cover story in The Atlantic explored, among other things, the connection between domestic violence and unemployment. Last week, David Brooks wrote about it in The New York Times:

Long-term unemployment is one of the most devastating experiences a person can endure, equal, according to some measures, to the death of a spouse. Men who are unemployed for a significant amount of time are more likely to drink more, abuse their children more and suffer debilitating blows to their identity.

And in The Atlantic, Don Peck wrote this:

When men stop doing paid work--and even when they work less than their wives--marital conflict usually follows. Last March, the National Domestic Violence Hotline received almost half again as many calls as it had one year earlier; as was the case in the Depression, unemployed men are vastly more likely to beat their wives or children.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.