January 15, 2019 by Jamila Michener, Cornell University Leave a Comment I conduct a lot of in-depth interviews with people like a woman I’ll call Angie as part of my work as a political scientist who studies poverty and public policy. When I asked the low-income mother of two, who works multiple jobs but still struggles to care for her family, about her experience with government assistance programs, she expressed dismay over benefit cuts. “The people who make these rules … they don’t have any poor people in their family,” she told me. “That is why they are willing to chop so many services for the poor.” People living in poverty are now bracing for that kind of chopping as a result of the partial government shutdown that began in December. By the three-week mark, most safety-net benefits were still being funded. But should the impasse drag on, that could change. In my view, the added economic hardship brought on would highlight an enduring aspect of American public policy: Government benefits can be unreliable. They can be cut or eliminated arbitrarily. Fragmented help As I’ve explained in a book published in 2018, the nation’s systems for aiding Americans who have… Read full this story
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