The misunderstood social safety net

Mark Rank, the Herbert S. Hadley Professor of Social Welfare in the Brown SchoolMark Rank, Herbert S. Hadley Professor of Social Welfare


Few topics are more misunderstood than the U.S. social safety net. From Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queen” to current HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s caricature of a comfortable life in public housing, the safety net and those who use it have been routinely vilified.

Just recently in St. Charles, President Donald Trump, in announcing his plans for welfare reform, said, “I know people that work three jobs and they live next to somebody who doesn’t work at all. And the person who is not working at all, and has no intention of working at all, is making more money and doing better than the person that’s working his and her ass off. And it’s not going to happen.”

As Congress considers making significant changes and cuts to these programs during the next few months, it is time to splash a dose of hard reality onto this subject.

Read the full piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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