Playing By the Rules But Losing the Game

Research Report

Playing By the Rules But Losing the Game

America's Working Poor


During the second half of the 1990s, as millions of people moved off the welfare rolls and into low-paying jobs, policymakers and policy analysts have become increasingly concerned about the challenges facing the "working poor." The annual earnings of a full-time, full-year worker making $6 an hour-well above the federal minimum wage ($5.15 per hour) - are too low to lift a family of three above the federal poverty line. Even families with slightly higher earnings who take advantage of programs like food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) still must pay work-related expenses and struggle to make ends meet.

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