Professor Edelman Interview Part 1 – Working In Politics w Robert F Kennedy, President Clinton, Causes, Perpetuation Of Poverty In America

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Professor Edelman is currently the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches constitutional law and poverty law and is faculty director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown University Law.

He has written extensively on the topics of poverty and inequality in America, including the books So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard To End Poverty In America, and Not A Crime To Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty In America.

In Part I of a multi-part interview series with Professor Edelman, he goes into detail about a large number of topics relating to poverty in America.

The discussion initially focuses on his famous resignation from the Clinton Administration back in 1996, after the passage of the bill commonly referred to as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). TANF has had disastrous effects on the low income people in America, which the Professor mentions that it could be seen as a storm coming. When the states were released from any obligation to use the federal funds they received to help those of low-income, they began making it harder and harder to get any type of help if they had fallen on hard times. Not only is it very difficult to be approved for TANF, it is extremely easy to be thrown off it.


When the program started, there were 42 million people on the welfare programs at the time. By now, the number has fallen to 3 million, across the country, with over half of that number in New York and California (which are the best of the group, but by no means are their programs much different in terms of throwing people off the program and making it distasteful to apply and renew).

Professor Edelman discusses in what ways the whole system is flawed. There are solutions, but politics prevents people from working together to solve the real issues plaguing low income people in America.

Further interviews in the series will cover topics of eviction; court costs and fines leading to greater poverty and incarceration; access to justice, and other topics.


For a review of Professor Edelman’s book Not A Crime To Be Poor, please visit here.

Banner Image: Interview Cover. Image Credit – Staten Islander News


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