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Reflections on the End of the Safety Net as We Know It

April 19, 20184:00 pm6:00 pm Banatao Auditorium at UC Berkeley


It’s been over fifty years since President Johnson declared war on poverty, and each year, our federal and state governments spend billions of dollars trying to alleviate it. So why are some 45.3 million Americans still living below the poverty line? Why is there still no consensus on what can be done to reduce poverty? And why does “poverty won the war” (Ronald Reagan, 1986) remain a political mantra?

In this talk, Dr. Danziger will review the economic trends that have increased poverty and the safety net programs that have reduced it. He’ll also highlight recommendations from a recent bipartisan report that he cowrote with Brookings and the American Enterprise Institute. His conclusion? Our era represents the end of the safety net as we know it.

This event is co-sponsored by the Berkeley Opportunity Lab, the Institute of Governmental Studies, the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, the California Policy Lab, and the Goldman School of Public Policy.

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Thursday, April 19
Banatao Auditorium
Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley


Sheldon Danziger is president of the Russell Sage Foundation. Previously, he taught public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and at the Population Studies Center, and he is the former director of the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan. He is the author of six books on poverty, inequality, low-wage workers, and the economics of young adulthood.

Dr. Danziger is the author of The Price of Independence: The Economics of Early Adulthood and Working and Poor: How Economic and Policy Changes Are Affecting Low-Wage Workers. In the popular press, he’s written about the mismeasure of poverty and drug tests for SNAP recipients. You can watch him talk about US poverty here.


Banatao Auditorium at UC Berkeley