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  • Cited by 4
  • Edited by Ezra Rosser, American University Washington College of Law
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
September 2019
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

While the United States continues to recover from the 2008 Great Recession, the country still faces unprecedented inequality as increasing numbers of poor families struggle to get by with little assistance from the government. Holes in the Safety Net: Federalism and Poverty offers a grounded look at how states and the federal government provide assistance to poor people. With chapters covering everything from welfare reform to recent efforts by states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients, the book avoids unnecessary jargon and instead focuses on how programs operate in practice. This timely work should be read by anyone who cares about poverty, rising inequality, and the relationship between state, local, and federal levels of government.


'American federalism has many faces, both bountiful and miserly, beneficent and malicious. Sadly, as Holes in the Safety Net shows, America’s poor too often see its darkest face. Fortunately, the experts whose work animates this powerful book also light the path to a better federalism for the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.'

Jacob S. Hacker - Yale University, Connecticut, co-author of Winner-Take-All Politics and American Amnesia and author of The Great Risk Shift

'This volume brings together the most important and influential scholars investigating poverty and the government programs designed to assist those living in it. The book is a must-read for anyone trying to understand why poverty persists in the one of richest countries in the world.'

Khiara M. Bridges - Boston University and author of The Poverty of Privacy Rights

'This fine collection illuminates the important role that the legal profession has come to play in defining and defending a rights-basis for our social policies that deal with poverty and inequality.'

Francis Fox Piven - City University of New York and co-author of Regulating the Poor and Poor People’s Movements

‘This exploration of the intersection of federalism and poverty policy includes informative, timely essays that speak to critical questions of how best to formulate policy … Overall the collection is critical of how US poverty programs have evolved, but it does offer hope and guidance to those working on poverty policy. This collection offers a lot to like.’

N. K. Mitchell Source: Choice

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