The Clinton Legacy for America's Poor
This paper examines the impact of Clinton era social policy changes on the poor. It explores shifts in incentives, behavior, and incomes and discusses the role Clinton did or did not play in influencing the policy mix and the nature of the political debate surrounding poverty. Policy changes included a radical shift in welfare policy, a sizable expansion in supports for low income workers with children, new child support enforcement measures, more restricted support for immigrants, and altered housing policies. Partly as a result of these policies, but also in part due to the strong economy, welfare use plummeted, work rose dramatically among single parents, and poverty was reduced. At the same time, there are indications that some families are doing worse than before and that some working families are not getting health and food benefits to which they are entitled. Significant questions remain about what will happen to poor families in the next recession.
Published: Frankel, Jeffrey A. and Peter R. Orszag (eds.) American Economic Policy in the 1990s. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002.