Speeches I “wrote” in 1984 for Senator Hollings (when he was running for president) mainly just pieced together various riffs he’d developed on his own. One of them was his justification for spending on the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program, based on his understanding of early brain development. I’m reconstructing this from memory but it went something like this:

HOLLINGS: “An adult human being has 100 billion brain cells, and they’re all there before age 4. When that brain isn’t nourished, it’s like taking a TV set and dropping it off the table. Pretty soon that child grows up, he has trouble learning, he’s dropping out of school, he’s in the ghetto, he’s into crime, and I’ve learned it’s cheaper to feed the child than jail the man.”

ME: “Senator, I don’t think you should say ‘ghetto.'”

HOLLINGS: “Well, Dr. Kaus, where is the crime?”

ME: “It’s in the ghetto, sir. But I don’t think you should say that.”

[Hollings didn’t respond. But he stopped saying it.]