Readers React: Obama’s safety-net expansion is nothing to celebrate

To the editor: On the one hand, there are major increases in federal tax breaks and safety net programs benefiting low- and moderate-income households. On the other hand, liberals are complaining that these same households are not seeing any increase in their wages. (“Despite GOP efforts, Obama’s safety net expansion is historic,” Dec. 29)

I can’t be the only person who sees the grammar-school level of thinking that seems to be the standard these days.

If the trend continues, workers will live better for a while but complain about ever lower incomes — until one day there’s no income to generate tax revenue to support the safety nets, and the whole thing collapses. (See “Soviet Union.”)

Ray Coen, Pacific Palisades



To the editor: Despite expansion of safety-net programs and certain tax breaks, low-income Americans still have lost ground since 2009.

For example, Annie E. Casey Foundation researchers have found that a larger percentage of American children live in poverty today than during the Great Recession. And according to the Census Bureau, the median annual income of black Americans has decreased every year since 2009.

It looks as if most of President Obama’s “safety net” policies have done very little to add real income to the budgets of most low-income people.


The kinds of policies that will have a real impact must provide direct cash payments to people who are unemployed, underemployed or who are not being paid a living wage. We need policies that guarantee workers grants that supplement their incomes up to a “living wage” level and ongoing unemployment benefits when they lose their jobs and are truly looking for work but simply cannot find a job.

If political parties are not providing these kinds of policies, those parties are not really meeting the survival needs of most low-income Americans.

Reginald Clark, Montclair 

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