Poor Support: Poverty in the American Family

Poor Support: Poverty in the American Family

Poor Support: Poverty in the American Family

Poor Support: Poverty in the American Family

Synopsis

"The subject of a New York Times Magazine cover story of December 8, 1996, David Ellwood is one of the country's leading experts on poverty. In this book he describes who the poor are, explains why the"

Excerpt

In a strange way, this book developed out of the debate surrounding Charles Murray and George Gilder, two conservatives whose ideas held great sway in the Reagan administration. During that debate, others often cited my work in their attempts to refute conservative suggestions that the welfare system was the cause of great harm. With my work being used as ammunition in defense of welfare, I was naturally drawn in.

My colleague Mary Jo Bane and I had for some years been exploring the links between social welfare programs and poverty. We had found that some people were long-term poor, and it was obvious that family structures were changing rapidly. But somewhat to our surprise, welfare did not seem to deserve much blame for these phenomena. Indeed, the research suggested that welfare had done a lot to protect families and children, and the unintended negative effects were quite modest. Welfare seemed to do far more good than harm. I was called upon now to deliver that message to the public.

But the message didn't sell very well. People hated welfare no matter what the evidence. It wasn't just conservatives; liber-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.