Shelley Boots

Shelley Waters Boots currently consults for philanthropic foundations on poverty, work-family, and children's issues.

Recent Articles

A Modern Safety Net

We need to update our social contract for the real lives of working families in a brutal economy.

The Great Recession has revealed that our social safety net--primarily established by Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression--is more hole than net. For many Americans, this is not news. Low-income families have spent decades dealing with economic insecurity and a system that provides little buffer on the way down. The current downturn has only made matters worse. The latest unemployment numbers bear this out. For workers with the least education, the May unemployment rates jumped to 15.5 percent, up from 6.7 percent in 2007. Job seekers now average nearly 6 months without a job. Hidden behind these numbers, however, are the underemployed--those lucky enough to still have a job, but a job that is offering fewer hours than what they are willing to work. Bureau of Labor Statistics data suggest that nearly 9 million workers are in part-time positions but want full-time jobs--an increase of 4 million workers since the recession started. This dramatic collapse of the low-wage...