So rich, so poor Why it's so hard to end poverty in America

Peter B. Edelman

Book - 2012

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 339.46/Edelman Checked In
New York : New Press : Distributed by Perseus Distribution 2012.
Physical Description
xix, 184 p. ; 22 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Main Author
Peter B. Edelman (-)
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • A snapshot of our current mess
  • What we have accomplished
  • Why are we stuck?
  • Jobs : the economy and public policy go south (for most of us)
  • Deep poverty : a gigantic hole in the safety net
  • Concentrated poverty : "the abandoned"
  • Young people : improving the odds
  • Conclusion.
Review by Choice Review

The debate on income inequality has never been more important in the US than in this 2012 election year. Familiar rhetoric includes terminology such as the increasing gap between rich and poor, the shrinking middle class, unemployment, stalled real wages, and concentrated poverty. Edelman (Georgetown Univ. Law Center) demystifies the politics behind it all in this volume. He draws on decades of insider experience as an adviser to politicians including Robert Kennedy and President Bill Clinton and on a wealth of public policy and political analyses to answer the most crucial question Americans face today: how can a country with an annual gross domestic product of $15 trillion have profound income inequality, an ever increasing gap between rich and poor, and an escalating poverty rate? Edelman traces the progress made in US public polices to reduce poverty and their erosion in recent years, identifies current factors exacerbating the decline in social mobility and the rise in poverty, and offers policy recommendations to reduce poverty. This timely book is must reading for students, faculty, and professionals in the fields of political science, economics, public policy, and public finance. Summing Up: Essential. Academic audiences, upper-division undergraduates and up; professionals; general readers. S. Chaudhuri University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1996, Edelman resigned from the Clinton administration in protest against the president's signing welfare reform legislation. Here, the Georgetown University law professor sharply criticizes the guidelines perpetuating poverty in the U.S., lambasting conservative politicians while ascribing blame for everything from the deteriorating financial situation of single mothers to the current economic crisis. Assiduously detailed and rife with figures carefully selected to support his claims, Edelman provides readers an informative and inclusive analysis of the American wealth distribution and welfare system. However, some may find Edelman's frequent forays into self-aggrandizement tiresome, while others may see this work as a thinly veiled excuse to praise liberal politicians of his personal acquaintance, as well as members of his own family. Edelman's tendency to make sweeping generalizations regarding entire segments of the population is sure to resonate with many of his admirers, but will strike neutral parties as lacking in intellectual objectivity. This slim volume is a great source for summaries of our country's antipoverty program, but despite the author's expertise in the area, cannot be trusted to offer an unbiased exploration of its effects on society. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Kirkus Book Review

Edelman (Georgetown University Law Center; Searching for America's Heart: RFK and the Renewal of Hope, 2001, etc.) examines the continuing problem of poverty in the United States. The author worked for Robert F. Kennedy on poverty issues and resigned from the Clinton administration because of disagreements over welfare reform. He contends that America has come to a turning point. "We are headed in the wrong direction," he writes. "The hole we are in is getting deeper and deeper. The costs of not doing the right thing now for all of our children are going to get higher and higher." Though a lot has been accomplished since the 1960s--e.g., food stamps, the earned-income tax credit and the indexing of Social Security to inflation--there is still plenty of work to be done. Children are one of the author's major litmus tests. There are more children in poverty than ever, a fact that Edelman partly attributes to the low-wage economy, which has been adopted since the '70s, as well as the resurgence of unprecedented income inequality. "An astonishing 20.5 million people lived in extreme poverty in 2010," writes the author, "up by nearly 8 million in just ten years, and 6 million had no income other than food stamps." Further, there is no state in the country where a worker on the federal minimum wage would be able to pay the rent for a single or two-bedroom apartment. Edelman depicts a growing impoverished population cycling between low-income work and dependence on extended family and friends. Without serious efforts to improve the quality of employment and address community and family issues, the situation will only get worse. Unfortunately, such improvement is questionable in the current political climate. A competent, thorough assessment from a veteran expert in the field.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.