MSNBC host Chris Hayes used part of his show Tuesday to speak on behalf of an Arizona woman accused of leaving her two young children, aged 2 and 6 months, in a hot car during a job interview. He blamed a society that made it too difficult for her to find adequate child care while she went to a job interview.
Shanesha Taylor, 35, was arrested on child-abuse charges, but the case has sparked an outcry with some, like Hayes, who blamed the state for cutting social services and leaving Taylor in a difficult position. Hayes did tell the audience the infant was found crying and sweating profusely as temperatures inside the SUV exceeded 100 degrees during her 45-minute interview, but his excuse-making for Taylor bordered on the absurd.
"Where the system fails over and over and over again is at supporting people so that they do not find themselves in situations where they are doing the things that we can punish them for," Hayes said.
Hayes decried American policy for "punishing the poor" in this case, while essentially saying the woman appeared to have no choice but to make the reckless decision to leave a toddler and a baby in a scorching car.
"Now, I don't think anyone believes it is a good idea to leave children in a hot car," Hayes said. "But here's what's happening in this case. A woman is taking seriously the exhortations from politicians and pundits alike to get a job, to pull herself up by her bootstraps, in a state, the folks at Think Progress point out, that has cut 40 percent of its total child care budget and has between 2012 and 2013 seen a decrease in the number of children served for every child care program in the state, except for child protective services. At the end of this whole awful situation, a mother is separated from her kids without a job, looking at up to a seven-year prison sentence. If there is one thing American policy towards the poor is skilled and efficient at, is unrelenting, it is punishing the poor."