Date: May 19, 2015
Description: CFS hosted a webinar on the newly published book It’s Not Like I’m Poor: How Working Families Make Ends Meet in a Post-Welfare World.
Authors Sarah Halpern-Meekin and Laura Tach presented research from their new book followed by discussion by Robin McKinney and Julian Huerta on the policy and practice perspective of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Book Description: The world of welfare has changed radically. As the poor trade welfare checks for low-wage jobs, their low earnings qualify them for a hefty check come tax time—a combination of the earned income tax credit and other refunds. For many working parents this one check is like hitting the lottery, offering several months’ wages as well as the hope of investing in a better future. Drawing on interviews with 115 families, the authors look at how parents plan to use this annual cash windfall to build up savings, go back to school, and send their kids to college. However, these dreams of upward mobility are often dashed by the difficulty of trying to get by on meager wages. In accessible and engaging prose, It’s Not Like I’m Poor examines the costs and benefits of the new work-based safety net, suggesting ways to augment its strengths so that more of the working poor can realize the promise of a middle-class life.
Sarah Halpern-Meekin is an assistant professor in the School of Human Ecology and the Univ ersity of Wisconsin-Madison. Sarah is also a CFS Research Affiliate. Sarah is a sociologist who studies romantic relationships and welfare policy using a mixed-methods approach. Her current research includes examining how premarital experiences are associated with later relationship outcomes; how government-funded relationship education programs are experienced by their participants; and how changes to the welfare state, like the rise of the Earned Income Tax Credit, affect low-income families.
Laura Tach is a sociologist who studies urban poverty and family life. Her mixed-methods research examines how neighborhoods and families reproduce inequality and how public policy affects these processes. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy at Harvard University. Prior to joining the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University, Laura was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.
Robin McKinney is Director and Co-Founder of the Maryland CASH Campaign, a nonprofit that promotes financial security for working families. She is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Her background includes work with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and East Harbor CDC. Robin also is a board member of the Corporation for Enterprise Development and the Rural Maryland Foundation.
Julian Huerta is Deputy Executive Director at Foundation Communities, a nonprofit located in Austin, TX, which provides affordable homes and free on-site support services for thousands of families, veterans, seniors and individuals with disabilities. Foundation Communities provides free tax preparation along with many other services. Julian has extensive background in nonprofit work, social services, and youth support work. Julian sits on the Board of Directors for RAISE Texas.