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The American Safety Net

The American Safety Net: A Primer on Welfare Programs for Low-Income Families

By Angela Rachidi

America has a long history of providing government support for the country’s most vulnerable people, but the social safety net has followed a complicated path since its early days. The most pressing questions of today are how well current social policies match the realities of poor, work-able families and to what extent government hurts rather than helps them.

In “The American Safety Net,” Angela Rachidi describes the history and effectiveness of three major welfare programs: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the earned income tax credit (EITC). She also offers a compelling vision for how they can be reformed to truly lift families out of poverty.

Angela Rachidi is a research fellow in poverty studies at the American Enterprise Institute.