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Poverty Industry (Families, Law, and Society) Paperback – January 8, 2019

4.3 out of 5 stars 29 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"The Poverty Industry exposes the venality of a startling number of public servants and private contractors who misdirect and misuse public funds intended to benefit those most in need." (Jewish Currents)

"A law professor at the University of Baltimore who has represented Maryland victims of such schemes, Hatcher presents a distressing picture of how states routinely defraud taxpayers of millions of federal dollars." (Boston Review)

"In the tradition of great muckraking, Hatcher has exposed how states and localities have misdirected and misused public funds envisioned to benefit the most vulnerable among us. . . . Should be required reading for lawmakers and public officials, to remind them of their legal and moral responsibilities and to inspire them to stop these disturbing practices and direct these crucial resources to their rightful recipients." (Jane M. Spinak, Edward Ross Aranow Clinical Professor of Law, Columbia University)

""Poverty is here painted as an industry that, like the defense industry, has an iron triangle. As explored by Hatcher, it depicts revenue maximization services and contingency fees that decrease the funds from the federal government that go to helping children and the poor." (Library Journal)

"Everyone today is skeptical of charitable organizations that spend too little of their money on charity. After reading this book, Americans are sure to become just as skeptical when state and local governments spend federal tax dollars. Hatchers tour-de-force spells out how federal government spending on services for the poor are being wasted. . . . No one who reads this book will ever feel the same about fiscal federalism. . . . Hatcher shows that a shocking amount of money is going to profit private businesses. Even worse, these businesses are teaching state and local governments how to scam the feds by taking money for one purpose and misusing it to help fill a hole in the state budget outside of the purposes for which the money is being given. An extremely important book." (Martin Guggenheim, Fiorello LaGuardia Professor of Clinical Law, New York University)

"Daniel Hatcher meticulously explains the impact of deregulated privatisation on America's already residual care services." (Times Higher Education)

"In this meticulously researched book Hatcher, who has represented vulnerable people in court for years, including children in foster care, lifts the lid on a system that rather than helping the needy, systematically turns them into 'a source of revenue'." (The Guardian,Mary O'Hara)

"[An] important book...Hatcher has done a great public service by shining a light on these massive distortions." (Stanford Social Innovation Review)

"Hatcher provides beautiful examples of unintended consequences of government policies: states rip off the federal government because the federal government has unwittingly incentivized the states to do exactly that." (Choice)

"Hatcher exposes an urgent paradox at the heart of American governance: why, and how, are states and localities teaming up with corporations to squeeze profits from societys poorest? The Poverty Industry breaks fresh ground. Every American who cares about the intersection of private profits and public justice should read this book, and wrestle with its arguments. Hatcher marshals years of legal experience and research towards fulfilling the muckrakers calling: 'to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.' But he also goes a step further. In The Poverty Industry, he combines a practitioners depth with a journalists flair for storytelling, to generate the first complete account of a little-known phenomenon that should be of interest to every reader with a conscience." (Sarah Stillman, staff writer for The New Yorker)

About the Author

Daniel L. Hatcher is Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore.

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