Jason DeParle, Senior Writer, New York Times, and author of the newly released book, American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids and a Nation's Drive to End Welfare.
LOCATION: Smith Memorial Student Union, room 236
This event is co-sponsored by the PSU Graduate School of Social Work (http://www.ssw.pdx.edu), The Oregon Center for Public Policy (www.ocpp.org), and the Oregon Progress Forum (http://www.oregonprogressforum.org/)
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Bill Clinton vowed to "end welfare as we know it" in 1992. Four years later, Congress translated a catchy slogan into a law that sent nine million women and children streaming from the rolls. Did it work? In his definitive book on this unprecedented upheaval in social policy, Mr. DeParle follows three women in one extended family to a set of surprising answers.
Cutting between the corridors of Washington and the meanest streets of Milwaukee, Mr. DeParle tracks the story from the White House to the local crack house. After twelve years on welfare, Angie, a truculent mother of three, finds a job and a 401 (k)--and a boyfriend who tries to shoot her. Her cousin Jewell, glamorous even in sweatpants, adores the children she struggles to support.
Drawing on more than a decade of reporting, Mr. DeParle traces their story back six generations to a common ancestor--a Mississippi slave--and adds politicians, case workers, reformers, and rogues to an epic exploration of America's struggle with poverty and dependency.