The New York Times this week highlights a recent development in the fight against poverty that brought together thinkers from both sides of the aisle, including professor emeritus Sheldon Danziger.
"Finding Common Political Ground on Poverty," the Times article, reports that in December a group of left and right leaning experts from groups including New York University, the Russell Sage Foundation, Columbia University, and the American Enterprise Institute released a report with a number of new policy proposals designed to reduce poverty in the United States.
Of the collaboration, the article asks, “Is it possible that combating America’s entrenched poverty - the deepest among advanced industrialized nations - may have finally become salient enough for the left and right to break through the ideological gridlock?”
The document included proposals to raise the minimum wage, to increase the Earned-Income Tax Credit for adults without children, to increase the federal investment in early childhood education and community colleges, and to attach a job requirement to food stamps, among others. While the Times piece concedes that "the report is not likely to make its way into legislation any time soon," it points out the hopes of the report's authors that the next administration will "turn its attention to poverty and find a set of viable ideas on the shelf."
According to Danziger, progressives placed more weight on the part of the report that calls for ensuring that jobs are available, while conservatives preferred the part that emphasized raising work levels. “Everybody agreed that even though there were things in it we didn’t like, the package together would be better than the status quo,” said Danziger.
Sheldon Danziger is president of the Russell Sage Foundation and the Henry J. Meyer Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Public Policy at the Ford School. He was also director of the National Poverty Center at the Ford School. His research focuses on social welfare policies and on the effects of economic, demographic, and public policy changes on trends in poverty and inequality. Among his publications, he is the co-author of America Unequal (with Peter Gottschalk, 1995) and co-editor of Legacies of the War on Poverty (with Martha J. Bailey, 2013).
--Story by Afton Branche (MPP '17)