As private and public support erodes, workers and their families must bear a greater burden. This is the essence of the Great Risk Shift. The Great Risk Shift might be less worrisome if work and family were stable sources of security themselves. Economic security is vital to economic opportunity, and economic insecurity is one of the greatest barriers between American families and the American Dream. It is common to say that the United States does little to provide economic security compared with other rich capitalist democracies. The family, once a refuge from economic risk, is creating new risks of its own. America's distinctive framework of economic protection grew out of specific political struggles and a unique set of values and beliefs. Americans responded to economic risk as if it were a natural disaster largely beyond the control or responsibility of those it struck.