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The US safety net, inequality and the Great Recession

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Since the mid-1970s, the United States (US) has experienced widening income and wealth inequality. Over the same period, moreover, the official poverty rate has not declined. These trends framed the socioeconomic environment as the US entered the Great Recession in 2008. This article examines the manner in which that recession affected the US, especially those people in lowincome households who were already economically vulnerable. The article asks how policy makers responded to the crisis, with a particular focus on the actions taken by the Obama administration. It concludes that a variety of measures have been put in place that offer help and support to those affected by the recession – but that the longstanding inequalities have persisted and are likely to continue to do so.
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Keywords: Inequality; Recession; Social Welfare; United States

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2010

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