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4 out of 5 People Experience Economic Hardship by Age 60!

The Importance of Social Safety Net Programs

by Rick Cohen, Nonprofit Quarterly, August 24, 2015


Economic-Hardship-Graphic-NPQ-08-24-2015Download chart

Source: Mark Rank, Washington University, Panel Study of Income Dynamics

NPQ Article

The Importance of Social Safety Net Programs by Rick Cohen describes findings from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics as reported in The Washington Post revealing that nearly 80 percent of Americans will experience economic hardship.  He contrasts these findings with a number of public opinion polls showing Americans are hostile to government spending on poverty.  As he points out during last week's annual conference of the Community Action Partnership:

"...the more than 1,000 local community action agencies that are the inheritors and guardians of our nation’s commitment to the War on Poverty.  That national commitment to fighting poverty has been inconsistent over recent years, but it shouldn’t have been; many of us, more than you would expect, will experience poverty at some time in our lifetimes despite the array of programs from the New Deal and then the Great Society that aim to minimize and mitigate poverty in our society."

The article concludes by urging nonprofit leadership to:

"...demonstrate to the majority of Americans that anti-poverty programs aren’t simply for “other people” but are likely to be needed and potentially used by four-fifths of Americans at some time in their lives. That’s why it’s crucial that community action agencies convene to overcome the myopic idea of too many Americans that poverty programs are for people who don’t need them rather than serving as vital safety nets for people that might include your neighbors, you, and me."

Spending-time-at-bottomDownload chart

Source: M. Rank and T. Hirschl, PSID
The Washington Post

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