Cover of Anita Ackerman (EDT): Poverty

Anita Ackerman (EDT) Poverty

Major Policy Themes, Proposals, and Measurements for the U.S.

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, but poverty remains a difficult policy challenge. The Obama Administration and some in Congress have offered proposals that seek to address poverty, with the proposals differing considerably in their focus and content. However, the themes reflected in these proposals echo prior efforts to address the issue of poverty. The terms "poverty" and "welfare" (commonly thought of as cash assistance for the poor) are often intertwined, but federal policies affecting poverty are broader than a single program or set of programs. In fact, the social insurance program of Social Security may be the nation's most important antipoverty program. The incidence and character of poverty is affected by many facets of public life. This book begins with an overview of trends affecting both the incidence of poverty and characteristics of the population, and highlights changing perceptions of the poor and causes of poverty. The book then provides a short history of key federal policies enacted over the past century to address poverty. To provide a framework for analyzing current and future proposals, the book then presents several overarching themes that have recurred in poverty policy debates over the course of this history.

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