I played a symphony of chin music today, in two movements.
Here’s one figure I stressed in the talk, showing some sort of good news: the safety net caught a lot of children in the recent Great Recession.
“We’re going to need to continue to support—not pull back—on the safety net that pretty much kept kids poverty rates from rising in the worst recession since the Great Depression. As officially measured, child poverty went up four percentage points, 2007-10. But as it should be measured, including the non-cash benefits and tax credits that ramped up to offset child poverty, it nudged up only very slightly–0.3 percentage points.”
Why is this just “some sort of good news?” Because preventing kids poverty from rising, especially in a sharp downturn, is evidence of a strong safety net. But they don’t just need a safety net; they need a springboard.