Gilens on Shifting Views About the Social Safety Net

Public Policy Chair Martin Gilens spoke to the Los Angeles Times about Americans’ shifting opinions about government-funded social safety nets. During the health and economic crisis spurred by COVID-19, a wide range of individuals and businesses have benefited from U.S. stimulus spending, and this could shift the national discourse about the role Americans want government to play in their lives. “COVID is such a potentially transformational experience,” Gilens said. While he cautioned that views may change once the economy improves, he noted, “If there is a broader reckoning with the failures of our government, then maybe that will extend to how we deal with inequality and poverty, and we’ll be entertaining something that looks a little more like a European welfare state.”


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