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A Nightmare of Work and Care

At least since welfare reform, then, we have coexisted with a particularly monstrous work-life imbalance for low-income parents in which economic security, much less economic mobility for their children, remains forever out of reach. Americans have learned to live with punitive workfare as their only form of safety net assistance (or without it, as is the case for too many poor people ineligible even for subsistence benefits). Far from removing the crisis in care and work from polarized public debate, however, the pandemic has shown all too clearly that workfare ideology will not remain confined to the ever-shrinking welfare context, but has a life of its own.