PLS 200-05

Welfare state
“Politics of Poverty”

poverty not typically discussed in American political life — why?

  • conservative ideology
    • limited govt
    • competition
    • individual work ethic
  • changed @ great depression (1929)
  • New Deal — govt steps in to solve social problems
  • cornerstone: Social Security Act 1935
  • Welfare:

  • earned benefits (entitlement programs)
    • social security retirement
    • medicare / health care
  • 1940’s: shift toward modern liberalism

  • unearned benefits (not worked for)
    • means tested: below certain income level, medical conditions, etc
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • aid to the blind
    • vocation rehab
    • AFDC
    • in-kind assistance (food stamps, medical, housing, etc)
  • LBJ’s war on poverty (1963-64)
  • $300 billion total spent
  • LBJ: Head Start, Job Corps — Gore: Americorps
  • Who are the poor?

  • income
  • US = 20th in poverty class
  • causes of poverty?

  • overall economy/fluctuations
  • educational level
  • health issues
  • homeless
  • mental health
  • temporary crisis
  • personal initiative
  • geographical location
  • urban deindustrialization: global shift in types of work
  • gender
  • crime
  • family status – single parent families: highest unemployment rates

Solutions?
Economic growth

  • industry
  • education & training
  • Expanded govt svc

  • cost (taxes may rise)
  • education & training
  • service sector
  • health care
  • housing
  • Workfare replaces welfare

  • earned benefits
  • eliminate or reduce welfare
  • cut or eliminate programs (food stamps, health care, etc)
  • deny benefits to felons
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