Opinon: Responding to the NY Times: Is the safety-net expanding?

Feb 15 2012

Recently, The New York Times published a front-page feature entitled Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It. by Binyamin Appelbaum and Robert Gebeloff.

The piece has drawn several thoughtful responses by economists, discussing the state of social programs and the ability of such programs to assist in times of need.

No, NYT, there’s been no expansion of government benefits, no ‘entitlement society’
By Lawrence Mishel, Economic Policy Institute

"I want to strongly object to one part of the story that seems to support the notion that we’re becoming an “entitlement society.” The story claims that there’s been a major “expansion of government benefits,” which it says “has become an issue in the presidential campaign.” ... Many of the facts presented in the story do not support that conclusion and the ones that do seem to support it are misleading." Read more.

What Expanded Safety Net?
By James Kwak, The Baseline Scenario

"In general, I think Binyamin Appelbaum and Robert Gebeloff’s article on how the same people oppose government handouts and take government handouts is very good. But I think their framing buys into a piece of conventional wisdom that just isn’t true." Read more.