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May 13, 2024

The American Dream Is Alive and Well (and the Problem of US Inequality Greatly Exaggerated)

Don’t listen to the populist naysayers: The U.S. economy continues to deliver jobs, higher wages and upward mobility for those who need it most. What do former President Trump and Bernie Sanders have in common? Or Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Nobel Prize-winning Clinton administration economist Joseph Stiglitz and billionaire investor Ray Dalio? Among many other prominent elected officials, commentators, public…

November 30, 2023

Evaluating the Success of the War on Poverty Since 1963 Using an Absolute Full-Income Poverty Measure

Abstract We evaluate progress in the War on Poverty as President Lyndon B. Johnson defined it, which established a 20% baseline poverty rate and adopted an absolute standard. While the official poverty rate fell from 19.5% in 1963 to 10.5% in 2019, our absolute full-income poverty measure—which uses a fuller income measure and updates thresholds…

September 23, 2023

Did Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Increase Unemployment? Evidence from Early State-level Expirations

Abstract During the 2021 pandemic year, the generosity of Unemployment Insurance benefits was expanded (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation [FPUC]) and eligibility for benefits was broadened (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance [PUA]). These two programs were set to expire in September 2021. In June 2021, 18 states exited both FPUC and PUA and three states exited FPUC (but…

August 23, 2021

Policies to Help the Working Class in the Aftermath of COVID-19: Lessons from the Great Recession

By Richard V. Burkhauser, Kevin C. Corinth, and Douglas Holtz-Eakin Abstract The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated government-mandated shutdowns caused a historic shock to the U.S. economy and a disproportionate job loss concentrated among the working class. While an unprecedented social safety net policy response successfully offset earnings losses among lower-wage workers, the risk of…

November 13, 2019

Work, Family, and Community

Abstract The contributions to this volume make clear that the social safety net in the United States is large, complex, and robust. In this reflection, we offer insights into the adequacy of the existing safety net to reduce material hardship and meet the future challenges facing this nation. Our perspective is broad and moves from…