Episode 7: Changing Perceptions on Social Security and Poverty Mortality | Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings & Dr. David Brady

We address the travesty of child poverty.

Our hosts, Jeff and Carol, introduce each other to our listeners.

This podcast is based on Jeff’s book, “Invisible Americans: The Tragic Cost of Child Poverty.” He is a prolific American economics writer.

Carol is an Emmy-winning journalist, activist, and author. She most recently was the president of the ERA Coalition, a group devoted to amending the Constitution to protect women.

Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings Won’t Overlook or Forget Children Protected By Social Security 

“Social Security is literally one of our nation's largest anti-poverty programs for children in this country. And people simply just don't know that.”

Although most Americans associate Social Security benefits with the elderly, Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings wants to help listeners realize that millions of children benefit from Social Security.

Social Security is actually a three-pronged program:

  • Retirement benefits for the aging population
  • Disability benefits
  • Survivor benefits

Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings discusses how all three of the programs under Social Security impact children and lift them out of poverty.

  • Children who are raised by retirees who receive Social Security benefits are indirectly benefiting
  • Children being cared for by someone with a disability are indirectly receiving  benefits
  • Children whose parents have passed away directly receive their parent’s Social Security benefits

Although data shows that 3.2 million children are known to benefit from Social Security, it is under-reported. It’s estimated the true figure is double that – 6.4 million children.

Social Security is in Jeopardy

 “We do not have to cut Social Security in order to save Social Security.”

Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings has spent a lot of her career focused on this issue and helping people see that Social Security is an essential pillar of anti-poverty protection. While the program does need to be reformed, there are alternatives to simply cutting portions of the program that help the most vulnerable populations.

One simple way to ensure Social Security has adequate funding is to remove the cap that currently exists for high-income individuals.

No matter how much a person makes – whether that is in the millions or billions of dollars – only around $140,000 of that is subject to Social Security withholdings.

This means that most Americans pay Social Security on all of the money they earn, but the wealthy do not have to pay Social Security on all of the money they earn.

Dr. David Brady Quantified That Poverty is a Killer

It started with a question: How many deaths would have to occur from poverty for there to be more deaths from poverty than homicide?

Dr. Brady found a startling answer: Not only does poverty lead to 10 times more death per year than homicide, but it also leads to more death per year than Alzheimer’s disease, accidents, strokes, and diabetes.

Even controlling for smoking, drinking, obesity, and other self-rated health markers, poverty increases the probability of mortality. Dr. Brady analyzed data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, which is the longest-running panel data set in the world.

From this data, Dr. Brady determined that 180,000 deaths per year can be attributed directly to poverty.

A limitation of the study


Dr. Brady acknowledged that the panel doesn’t take young children or adolescents into account. However, there is a substantial body of evidence that shows that children who experience poverty early in life are at a greater risk of experiencing poverty as adults. 

Childhood poverty projects “a lifetime of economic disadvantage.”

Financial Implications

Unfortunately, validating social policy investments does not always come down to compassionate or humanistic arguments. But Dr. Brady makes the argument that allowing people to die unnecessarily because they live in poverty is a bad financial decision.


Scientists put millions of dollars of value on human life when conducting benefit-cost analyses. Putting dollar amounts on 180,000 deaths of people mainly between ages 40 to 70, we’re missing out on contributions, family caretaking, and working years benefitting the American economy.

A Speculative Argument

At the end of the episode, Dr. Brady suggested that lawmakers who vote to remove programs that alleviate poverty, like the Child Tax Credit, should have to answer the question: How many deaths can we directly attribute to ending these policies?

Within the districts that lawmakers represent, Dr. Brady could calculate how many deaths were caused due to those policies being rescinded. And he thinks that lawmakers should have to answer that tough question.

We want to thank our guests, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and Dr. David Grady, for sharing insights on their very important recent reports.

The Invisible Americans theme by Bridget St. John

Carol Jenkins

Hello, and thanks so much for joining The Invisible Americans Podcast with Jeff Madrick and Carol Jenkins. We address the travesty of child poverty here.

Jeff Madrick

There are nearly 13 million children living in serious material deprivation in America, and we don't see them. They are our invisible Americans, and we plan to change that.

Carol Jenkins

A couple of words about us. The podcast is based on Jeff's book, Invisible Americans: The Tragic Cost of Child Poverty. He's an economics writer, author of seven and co-author of another four books on the American economy.

Jeff Madrick

Carol is an Emmy-winning journalist, activist, and author. Most recently, president of the ERA Coalition working to amend the Constitution to include women.

Carol Jenkins

And we are longtime colleagues and friends.

The Invisible Americans theme by Bridget St. John

 Jeff Madrick 

Our guests today are right in the thick of breaking news on the crisis of child poverty. Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings brings us up to date on the current Washington debate about Social Security, and her report reminds us it assists millions of children in poverty, as well as the elderly. Dr. David Brady warns us that child poverty can lead to early death, and in fact, it is a leading cause of death later in life.

 Carol Jenkins 

We begin with Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, economics and policy expert. She is a non-resident Senior Fellow at Brookings Metro Institute and the founder, president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions. Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings has testified in Congress and chaired the Board of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. She's the author of the forthcoming book “Rageism: Racism, Ageism, and the Quest for Liberation Policy.”

 She talks to us about her report, “Overlooked but Not Forgotten.” Social Security lifts millions more children out of poverty, something we sometimes forget about.

Jeff Madrick 

Maya, thanks for joining us. You issued a provocative report that I don't think many people are fully aware of about how reducing Social Security would cause damage to many, many thousands of children. Can you explain the nature of the research you did, you and your people?

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings 

Thank you for the question. I think because Social Security is so associated with seniors in the public's mind that many don't realize that Social Security is a program that serves people over the lifespan from birth to death and that many of Social Security's recipients are actually children under the age of 18.

And this is for several reasons. One is that Social Security is not just an old-age program. There are three different programs within the Social Security system. It is the Old Age Insurance program. It's also the Disability Insurance Program, and it's the Survivors’ Insurance Program. Now, under the Survivors’ Insurance Program, children actually receive Social Security because one or both of their parents have passed away.

And they were the dependents of that breadwinner, and their parent who passed away actually had Social Security credits, which meant that they had a form of life insurance to leave their children through Social Security. That's called the Survivor Program within the Social Security system.

But people also don't realize that children receive benefits also through the Disability and Old Age portion, as well, because there are many grandparents who are taking care of grandchildren. There is a process for eligibility of covering those grandchildren as dependents of those seniors who are caring for them. And so there are a substantial number of children who are receiving benefit--retirement benefits, interestingly enough--because they're being cared for by their grandparents.

And then of course, the same thing with disability. Social Security covers families of the disabled, and dependent children are often a part of that, as well.

Jeff Madrick 

Given the size of cuts being discussed today by some politicians, when do children begin to lose benefits?

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings 

So children lose benefits at the age of 18. If they're still in high school, they lose it at the age of 19. But the fact of the matter is Social Security actually used to pay for--if you were a survivor, they used to pay through college, if you enrolled in college after you graduated from high school. And in the early 1980s, as a part of the reforms that they did to save money, they actually cut out the college benefit. So really, it's 18 and under today.

Jeff Madrick 

How endangered are your kids with these new ideas?

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings 

I worked on the Social Security Subcommittee of the Ways -- House Ways and Means Committee. When I first got to Washington D.C., I became an expert on Social Security. But it was my job in the late 1990s/early 2000s to pull together a coalition of people to battle the right wing in their effort to try to privatize the system. 

And we joined with a whole lot of other organizations, including unions and nonprofits, women's groups, children's groups, you name it, to basically battle the privatizers. And we actually won that debate. We beat a sitting president of the United States of America. And if that proposal would have gone through, none of the think tanks--And certainly late--or the former President George W. Bush, all of those people, were not thinking about the children on Social Security. They were only thinking about Social Security as a retirement program. And all of the evidence that we saw and the reports that we saw were that they were planning to transition the funding towards ceding these private individual accounts without regard for the full range of benefits that families receive, which would have ended up destabilizing the Social Security program as that three-legged stool that covers disabled and survivors, as well.

And so children would have been left out literally in the cold. So that was one threat.

Carol Jenkins 

Maya, where do we stand today, the arguments that we that we hear in DC?

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings 

Most recently, two senators have offered a proposal to actually take the Social Security funding and turn it into a sovereign wealth fund. Now, a sovereign wealth fund is like what Saudi Arabia has, where they take, you know, a significant chunk of cash that they're sitting on, and then they go out and use it to invest.

And frankly, a lot of Silicon Valley companies here in the United States get Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth funding for their initiatives. But, you know, Social Security is not the same thing as a sovereign wealth fund. And so already--the groups who are opposed to that are already organizing to battle it, even though it hasn't been considered formally in any way.

At the same time, as you well know, during the Obama years, there were proposals to cut Social Security. Now, this is the situation we're in right now. And by the year 2034, the Social Security system is expected to experience a funding shortfall of approximately 25 cents on every dollar of promised benefits.

Everyone knows that Social Security is going to have to be reformed. But what the advocacy groups who are on the side of fighting to prevent child poverty and senior--poverty among senior citizens and the disabled--we've been working around the clock over the last several years to come up with alternative programs to benefit cuts.

The big battle looming ahead is how the system is going to be reformed in order to actually ensure solvency for Social Security over the 75-year window. And we're prepared. The preparation has come to say that we need to actually make sure that we are basically thing doing things like raising the cap so that wealthy people pay more and things like, you know, having a penny increase per year for current workers so that we actually have increased funding opportunities.

We do not have to cut Social Security in order to save Social Security.

Jeff Madrick 

The cap, just to clarify for our listeners, is at maximum -- well, maybe you usually describe what the cap is, but the cap is above which you can be taxed.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings 

So Oprah basically pays her Social Security taxes in the first minute after midnight every year, meaning that, you know, if you are a multimillionaire, a billionaire, Social Security cap is currently, I think, approximately -- and I'm actually not sure what the number is.

But it should be somewhere around $140,000. If you earn over that amount, you're not paying Social Security on any amount over that amount. Most Americans who are middle income are paying Social Security taxes on their Social Security--and Medicare, by the way--on their entire payroll tax contribution. Now, I should point out that Medicare doesn't have a cap. Social Security does.

Carol Jenkins 

Maya, I want to go back. We’ll will cycle back to this. Thanks for giving us the update. You're saying it doesn't need to be that we can save Social Security. And we have to keep in mind the children that we are concerned about who are living in poverty and what they're receiving.

Talk to us a little bit about those children. You say there are millions who are supported this way in this country. And they're never thought about. The title of your report was “Overlooked, but Not Forgotten.” Social Security lifted millions more children out of poverty, you know, which, again, a surprise. We have to keep thinking about that. Who are the children and who is helped the most?

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings 

So these children are some of our most vulnerable in the country. They are the children of people who are disabled, the grandchildren are people who are older adults, and they are children of workers who have just died, who have passed away and left children behind.

And so they need these funds. These are important funds for them to survive, to actually make sure that they have income coming into the house so that they can, you know, have the resources they need to, you know, get by. Now, what we found in this report is that the official number of children on Social Security is actually an under-reported number.

And this is why: In the year that we did this report, there were 3.2 million children directly receiving Social Security benefits. Our estimate was that if you actually look at the children who are actually benefiting from Social Security indirectly--meaning that these are children who live in households where someone in the household is receiving a Social Security benefit, they too are benefiting from Social Security.

And so we estimated--this study shows that that number would have been doubled. Six point four million children are actually directly or indirectly receiving Social Security. Now, many of these children are children of color--a growing number, certainly are African-American, Latino, and other. Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration does not do a very deep dive in terms of, you know, recognizing what other ethnicities are on Social Security.

But the other category includes Asian-American children, includes certainly, you know, children of other ethnicities. And so we know that children of color are disproportionately needy. We also know that low-income children are disproportionately reliant on these benefits. So Social Security is literally one of our nation's largest anti-poverty programs for children in this country. And people simply just don't know that.

Jeff Madrick 

Your goal then is to keep Social Security strong and benefits up?

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings 

Absolutely. We have to keep it as one of the essential pillars of anti-poverty protection, not just for seniors but for people of all walks of life, but especially for children. Social Security absolutely has to remain strong. And any efforts to try to pervert the program by creating individual accounts or sovereign wealth funds or whatever scheme they come up with next should be seen as a direct threat to our efforts to actually ensure economic security for vulnerable children.

Carol Jenkins 

One of the things you point out in the study is this multi-generational family situation that seems to be growing? Can you talk to us about that?

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings 

It turns out that the children who are living in these multi-generational families are actually driving benefits. And about two-thirds of these consist of three-generation households that include, you know, grandparents and their children and then their grandchildren. So, you know, it's been rising over time.

By the time this study was done, it increased from 8% to 11% in a few short years. And we expect when we do an update to this that we'll see even more so because of COVID, that we saw major loss of families -- adults during COVID.

The numbers of total children who are directly receiving Social Security had declined by 2021. If Social Security is doing its job, I expect that number should actually be booming by the year 2023.

Unfortunately, we have a data lag with the Social Security Administration's reporting, but because of COVID, I think that the need has increased dramatically.

Carol Jenkins 

I think that you have served on so many of the -- chaired some of the Commission's committees that, you know, have worked to try to provide support for children. Where do you see us as a country, having done this work for so many years, in our response to children living in poverty?

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings 

So I have a quote somewhere and, forgive me, I'm probably going to misquote my quote. What I say is that a nation that is oblivious about the condition of its children is a nation who is basically looking at a disastrous future. If we're not paying attention to how our children are faring and they're our future, then we are basically shooting ourselves in the foot.

We're undermining our potential. We're undermining our opportunity to grow our productivity, to increase our standing, you know, certainly our standard of living, but also our nation's economic outlook. And so our children need to be our highest priority.

And they're not. They're simply our lowest priority. And I think it is a crime. And I'm sure that Jeff is going to talk about this, but it is a crime that we saw that human--this doesn't have to be that we have the policy tools currently to actually eliminate child poverty in the United States of America.

We saw during COVID, when we implemented the Child Tax Credit in the child allowances, that poverty amongst households with children declined dramatically. Child poverty declined dramatically. And all we need to do is put more attention and focus on how to invest in a way where we can completely eliminate it. Unfortunately, what we saw was that after two years, the Congress reversed itself and took away one of the best things that we've seen in recent memory with regards to the impact on child poverty.

And so that I think that is criminal. I think that we need to actually recommit ourselves to ensuring that we do not allow this to occur in the United States of America. And I look forward to what Jeff has to say about this and joining him in this effort.

Jeff Madrick 

Well, I'd love to talk a long time about this. And I've written a lot. Why don't we leave it with you? I do agree, a nation that so neglects its children cannot be called a decent nation. So guess what folks? We live in an indecent nation, and let's change it because kids suffer.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings


Carol Jenkins 

Thanks so much, Maya, for coming to talk with us about the children being supported by Social Security, the children who were lifted out of poverty by the Child Tax Credit, the expanded version of that, and looking for ways that we can actually make a difference here.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings 

Absolutely. Thank you for having me, Carol, and thank you for having me, Jeff. Take care.

The Invisible Americans theme by Bridget St. John

Carol Jenkins 

Dr. David Brady is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California Riverside and director of the Blum Initiative on Global and Regional poverty there. He's the author of Rich Democracies, Poor people: How Politics Explain Poverty.

Jeff Madrick 

He and his colleagues released a jolting report just recently that indicates more than 183,000 people in the United States died in 2019 largely because of poverty. That's as many lives as claimed by Alzheimer's disease, accidents, strokes, and diabetes, and 10 times the number of homicides that year.

David, this is a fascinating piece. How often do we think about child poverty affecting adult death? Pretty rare. And you showed this correspondence between the two, that they are related pretty clearly. What made you think about this?

David Brady 

It's funny, Jeff, I ­­­­-- long ago, this was, like, a couple years ago. I was just exchanging on Twitter with some friends. And I was thinking, “Well, wait. How many deaths would have to occur from poverty for there to be more deaths from poverty than homicide?” And I was doing the math sort of backwards.

I was like, “Look, there's over 50 million poor people in America. And we know being poor is bad for your health.” That's not a new scientific discovery. We already knew that. And I figured, well, some of these people would die because of this poverty.

And then it started to occur to me that you really wouldn't need a very high percentage of poor people dying for it to exceed homicide. And then we sort of worked backwards from that.

And one of my talents has always been having smarter friends than myself. And so I knew Hui Zheng. I knew Ulrich Kohler, and thought about some data we had and thought couldn't we come up with an estimate of how many deaths are linked to poverty? And then I thought, surely someone's already done this.

And I was really surprised to learn that no one had ever come up--In a very long time, there had not been a clear, reasonable estimate of how many deaths could be linked to poverty. And so then I thought, could we just do this using some data we had?

And so really trying to kind of puzzle through, wait, how much mortality is plausibly reasonably estimated to be linked to mortality and poverty? And so that kind of drove us down this path. And like I said, I was sort of surprised to learn no one had this number handy. No one had it available.

Jeff Madrick 

How did this lead from cause to effect? I think many people would like to know.

David Brady 

Yeah, so you use these models that are called Cox models. But the logic is pretty simple. Imagine you're following 20-some-thousand people over time, and you're checking in with them every two years, right, basically, with the kind of data we have.

So you start following 1997, ’99, so forth, all the way on up to 2019. And you know what their economic status is in a given year, say in 1997. And then you know in the data set if they died in the next two years because mortality is verifiable.

And this data set is called the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. It's the longest running panel data set in the world. And a panel data set means that you follow the same exact people over time. And, you know, so that's in the data set. They have pretty good coverage of the population. And they have really, really high-quality income measures.

And you know, Jeff, you and I care about how we measure poverty. It's really important we count the tax credits, we count the non-cash benefits with something like SNAP, and we really measure poverty very rigorously, with a lot of scrutiny.

And so we can basically know, were you poor in the prior wave of the survey? And did you die in the next two years? And that gets us the basic cause-effect dynamic and a time order. What we can do beyond that is the data also has these really rich items about, you know--we can ask people if they have chronic disease condition.

There's a thing called self-rated health that predicts mortality really well. We know if they're obese. We know whether or not they're smoking. We know whether or not they drink. So we know all these things about these people. And we can control for all of those factors.

And still, poverty increases your probability of mortality. So we don't run an experiment. Like, we don't give out money to people and then see if they're more likely to survive. But we have very, very rich data that gives us at least a credible, plausible estimate of how many deaths can be attributed to poverty.

Jeff Madrick 

When did you know? When was your eureka moment?

David Brady 

Again, I'm smart enough to have friends smarter than me. And when Hui and Uli really started, did some of the initial analyses, and we started to figure out that we were looking at mortality estimates of, like, 180,000 deaths a year. That's one of our estimates.

And I thought, my goodness, that's really, really high. And then we went looked at the CDC death reports, and we're like, wait a second, that's more than accidents. That's more than chronic lower respiratory diseases. That's more than stroke. That's more than Alzheimer's. And, you know, it's 10 times as much as homicide.

Then I felt, wow, this, seems pretty compelling. This seems pretty important. So, you know, I was talking to Reverend William Barber, and the number he came up with was like, you're talking about 500 deaths a day in America. And so the sheer magnitude was what I felt, wow, this seems important.

Then also as, you know, a good social scientist, you go back, and you review it. You check it. You try it different ways. You want to make really sure that you didn't just get a paper-thin result, that this result was really robust.

So we tried really hard to, you know, run literally hundreds of ways of estimating this model and just make sure that this number is pretty robust. So that made me feel good. So I had sort of both a moment of recognizing the magnitude was quite big--so 180,000 deaths, a lot of deaths--and then feeling good about the science being quite robust. And that made me feel good.

Carol Jenkins 

David, the work that you and Jeff do, when you talk about poverty, and you talk about the long-term effects--I think this research really reinforces that when we say, you know, have to do something about the children because they will be the adults who will be still under this major negative effect.

David Brady 

Yeah, we have a limitation of our data. It’s that we don't have enough children in our data, enough child death in our data set. So we kind of punt on the zero to 15-year-olds. But your point is absolutely right.

That people that are poor, as young children or even as adolescents, they're more likely to be poor as adults. And what we observe when people are prematurely dying in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, which is what we really find, you know, this reflects a lifetime of economic disadvantage. I think that's exactly right.

I mean, along your lines of what you said, Carol, one thought I keep getting stuck on is, well, everybody agrees that if there's mortality, that's expensive. Right? There's a cost to that, you know? People do benefit-cost analysis, and they put in millions of dollars on each human life, right?

And you can think of a family that loses the parents in their 50s. You know, that's a lot of working years. That's a lot of caretaking, a lot of value that they contribute. And so if we put dollar amounts on 180,000 deaths that are principally between 40 and 70, this is an extremely expensive thing for American society.

And to me, that's validating that social policy investments to fight poverty are worth it, that they really pay off, and saving us a lot of the expenses on all that premature death.

Carol Jenkins 

Congratulations to both of you for your work.

Jeff Madrick 

David, have you had much reaction from your colleagues?

David Brady 

Yeah, scholarly colleagues, I think have appreciated it. But I think it's also going to be useful for people that are working to reduce poverty if we have a number we can put out there. It really can be politically useful for social policies to fight poverty.

Jeff Madrick 

I also, as Carol said, found it very valuable work, and hadn't really thought about it. Sure, child poverty effects when your roles are.

Carol Jenkins 

Yeah. What do you both have to say that -- with this information, what do you say to the people who -- the name of our podcast and Jeff's book is Invisible America. And it is so hard to raise visibility for these children living in poverty. What do you have to say to folks?

David Brady 

I would say that the way to understand it is that there's invisible death, that there's tons of death in the United States linked to poverty, and we don't pay attention to it. It doesn't grab the headlines. It's every day. It's large quantities. So, you know, it's a silent killer that's, you know, killing a lot of people.

It also just seems profoundly counterproductive and inefficient that we just let this happen. And it seems to me, at least, a very convincing argument that social policies that invest in kids and poor people generally are worth it, that they definitely pay off, and we can get big rewards for that.

Jeff Madrick 

Well, yeah, the rewards. People don't seem to relate low poverty to a better and a better life. Yeah, you know, it's a sticky issue in America. People generally think the cause of poverty is the poor themselves, a horrible, horrible bias in the country.

We don't take care of them here. We just had this great real-life experiment with child tax credits, which verifiably proved effective in reducing poverty. And I still--Do you have the data about that?

David Brady 

Yeah, I was--I wanted to jump on that, Jeff, because, you know, I had this conversation with someone. And if you would allow me like a little bit of a speculative argument.

So we know the Child Tax Credit doesn't get extended because just a couple of US senators prevent it from happening, especially Senator Manchin from West Virginia, right? And we also know that the Child Care Tax Credit definitely reduced poverty.

It was very effective. And we know poverty leads to death. Then you could probably do a calculation of how many deaths were higher because the Child Tax Credit did not get extended because of basically one senator.

And you have to ask Senator Manchin, you know, how many deaths in West Virginia -- but elsewhere as well -- are attributable to cutting off this financial support to low income families? And I think that's a tough question he should have to answer.

If he wants to debate whether the CTC actually reduced poverty, he's going to lose that debate. If he wants to debate whether poverty causes mortality, we'd like to believe we have good evidence that shows that’s the case. Ipso facto, his vote genuinely led to death.

Jeff Madrick 

That's pretty powerful.

Carol Jenkins 

Powerful, powerful. Thank you, David, so much for being with us. I urge everyone if you go to our website. You will see his books and the report. We thank you so much for the research that you've done.

David Brady 

My pleasure.

The Invisible Americans theme by Bridget St. John

Jeff Madrick

History will judge the nation's decency in various ways, one of them will surely be the well-being of all its children. American neglect of its poor children is both inexplicable and deplorable. By basic measures, it has the highest child poverty rate among rich nations in the world. A generation of careful academic research has shown how damaging this has been to children's cognition, health, nutrition, and future wages. And 2021 Congress and the president adopted an enlightened program that expanded the Child Tax Credit and made it available to almost all children no matter their race, ethnicity, or how little their parents earned. The results were stunning, cutting the poverty rate by half. But Congress refused to renew the program. In coming months, this podcast will examine the future of the Child Tax Credit and other key policies to protect children from the destructiveness of poverty. We are dedicated to restoring a bright and optimistic future for all children in this land long celebrated for equal opportunity. 

Carol Jenkins 

We want to thank our guests, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and Dr. David Grady, for sharing insights on their very important recent reports. Please go to our website at theinvisibleamericans.com for links to their full reports, as well as transcripts, show notes, guest bios and research on child poverty. That's www.theinvisibleamericans.com.

Jeff and I will see you the next time. In the meantime, follow us on all social media platforms. See you the next time.

The Invisible Americans theme by Bridget St. John

Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings

Founder, president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions

Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is a Distinguished Presidential Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, and the Founder, President and CEO of Global Policy Solutions. Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings is the author of the forthcoming book RAGEISM: Racism, Ageism, and the Quest for Liberation Policy (Routledge). A wealth, health, and education equity expert, Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings has conducted extensive research and policy analysis on aging, Social Security, the social determinants of health, and the racial wealth and achievement gaps. She also conceived and co-authored the first-ever study examining the labor market impact of level 5 autonomous vehicle technology. 

A frequent guest on prominent television and radio news shows, Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC News, CBS, BET, BBC, Al Jazeera, BNC, NPR, and Sirius XM among many other national and international outlets. She has also testified before the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and the Democratic National Committee platform committee on Social Security policy. Her articles, letters to the editor, and quotes have appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Fortune, The Atlantic, Baltimore Sun, Houston Chronicle, CNN.com, USA Today, Boston Globe, The Root and HuffingtonPost.com among many other news outlets.  

Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings has worked as Vice President for Programs and Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, professional staff on the Social Security Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, Chief of Staff for former Congressman Charles Rangel, Senior Resident Scholar for Health and Income Security at the National Urban League’s think tank, and Assistant to the Director of the Marion County (IN) Health Department. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in political science, with an emphasis in public policy, from Purdue University and her B.A. in political science and mass communication from Prairie View A&M University. She has taught at American University’s Women & Politics Institute and served as an Eastern regional panelist for the White House Fellowship program during the second term of the Obama Administration and the first year of the Trump Administration.  

Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings has chaired the boards of the National Association of Counties Financial Services Corporation and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. She has served on the boards of the National Academy of Social Insurance, National Council on Aging, Economic Policy Institute, Public Health Policy and Law, and the Baltimore Museum of Art among other organizations. She has co-chaired the Commission to Modernize Social Security and the National Academy of Social Insurance Study Panel on Medicare and Disparities. Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings has been a member of the National Association of Black Political Scientists, American Public Health Association, Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, National Association of Corporate Directors, Asset Funders Network Tax Policy Advisory Group, National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers, Women’s Information Network, American Political Science Association, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People among other organizations. She was a founding member of the Council of Urban Professionals and the Experts of Color Network.  

The recipient of many honors and awards, Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings has been selected as an Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow, a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellow, and a Woodrow Wilson Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow.

Dr. David Brady

Author and Professor

David Brady is Professor in the School of Public Policy. He also is Visiting Research Professor in Inequality and Social Policy at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. At UCR, he teaches classes in quantitative methods, poverty, inequality, and social policy. He investigates a variety of research questions related to poverty, racial inequality, social policy, health, immigration, and politics.