How Working Families Make Ends Meet in a Post-Welfare World
Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Kathryn Edin, Jennifer Sykes, Laura Tach
University of California Press
The world of welfare has changed radically. Poor families have traded welfare checks for low-wage jobs, but for most of them the new status brings neither freedom from financial worry nor independence from government support. Although many get a windfall at tax time – a combination of the Earned Income Tax Credit and other refunds – dreams of economic mobility are often dashed by the reality of making monthly ends meet on meager wages.
It’s Not Like I’m Poor: How Working Families Make Ends Meet in a Post-Welfare World looks at how working families have adjusted to the new welfare regime. Their book is an important and provocative look at the state of America’s current safety net.
There’s no question of ever going back to the old system. And most low-income families are better off today than they were under “old welfare.” But there are trade offs. And as the country increasingly favors higher skilled work, there is an urgent need to create pathways to better jobs and to protect and improve the social safety net, even if it looks very different today than it once did.