Trapped in America's Safety Net

Trapped in America's Safety Net

One Family's Struggle

Andrea Louise Campbell

if states responded to need—then more generous programs and more spending would occur where and when poverty is greater. In reality, the exact opposite patterns emerge. Poor states do the least to help their poor residents, not the most. And during economic downturns, states often reduce rather than increase spending on means-tested programs, just when the need is greatest. Across states, a negative relationship exists between need and social assistance provision that undercuts the responsiveness argument. Poor states spend less (as do conservative states).

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