Peter Edelman

Peter Edelman teaches at Georgetown University Law Center and co-directs the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy and the author, most recently, of “So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America.” Edelman also served as Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration, until he famously resigned in protest after Clinton signed the 1996 welfare reform bill into law. Edelman was a passionate critic of the law, which he characterized as “a war on the poor of the United States” and “the worst thing” Bill Clinton had done during his presidency.

Articles by this author

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Friday, July 25, 2014 - 12:45pm
Compassionate Conservatism Rides Again with Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan has a new suit of clothes, but inside he’s still just Paul Ryan. In fact the suit of clothes is made of porcupine quills—take a close look and it’ll poke you in the eye. He’s now seeming sweet and sympathetic in wanting to do something about poverty, but what he’s proposing is mainly a...
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In the United States of America, according to government statistics, there are at least 6 million people whose incomes are composed only of food stamps. Shame on us, writes the author. (Photo: talkpoverty.org) Views
Friday, May 23, 2014 - 11:30am
We (and This Includes You, Democrats) Have Blown a Huge Hole in the Safety Net
You can count on your fingers, and maybe a toe or two, the number of otherwise progressive public officials and policy experts inside the Beltway who want to talk about the gaping hole in our safety net for mothers and children. Up to and including President Obama, the mainstream Democratic...
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Friday, August 10, 2012 - 11:01am
Will Candidates Ever Talk about Poverty?
The following is the first installment in The Nation magazine's new “ Talk About Poverty (#TAP) ” series. Each edition of the series will feature a poverty expert and pose 3-5 questions to the presidential candidates regarding the state of povery in the United States.
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Sunday, July 29, 2012 - 10:02am
Poverty in America: Why Can’t We End It?
RONALD REAGAN famously said, “We fought a war on poverty and poverty won.” With 46 million Americans — 15 percent of the population — now counted as poor, it’s tempting to think he may have been right. Look a little deeper and the temptation grows. The lowest percentage in poverty since we started counting was 11.1 percent in 1973. The rate climbed as high as 15.2 percent in 1983. In 2000, after a spurt of prosperity, it went back down to 11.3 percent, and yet 15 million more people are poor today.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 8:13am
Low-Wage Nation: Poverty and Inequality Are Threatening Our Democracy
With its catchy "We are the 99 Percent" slogan, the Occupy movement focused millions of Americans on our nation's chronic inequality. As that movement regains momentum, it must pay more attention to the whole 99 percent.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2002 - 10:13am
The True Purpose of Welfare Reform
The welfare measure signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996 expires this year, so a new law is needed to extend or modify it. The House of Representatives, acting mainly along party lines, has passed a bill that is pretty much what President Bush asked for; it will soon be taken up by the Senate.
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