Tracing a 75-year arc in labor movement history, Roof discusses the complex interplay between unions and Congress, showing the effects of each on the other, how the relationship has evolved, and the resulting political outcomes. She analyzes labor’s success at passing legislation and pushing political reform in the face of legislative institutional barriers such as the Senate filibuster and an entrenched and powerful committee structure, looks at the roots and impact of the interdependent relationship between the Democratic Party and the labor movement, and assesses labor’s prospects for future progress in creating a comprehensive welfare state. Roof’s original investigation details the history, actions, and consequences of major policy battles over areas such as labor law reform and health care policy. In the process, she brings to light practical and existential questions for labor leaders, scholars, and policy makers.
Although American labor remains a force within the political process, decades of steadily declining membership and hostile political forces pose real threats to the movement. Roof’s shrewd exploration of unions, Congress, and the political process challenges conventional explanations for organized labor’s political failings.
Tracing the development of taxing and spending policy over the course of the twentieth century, Michelmore uncovers the origins of today's antitax and antigovernment politics in choices made by liberal state builders in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. By focusing on two key instruments of twentieth-century economic and social policy, Aid to Families with Dependent Children and the federal income tax, Tax and Spend explains the antitax logic that has guided liberal policy makers since the earliest days of Franklin Roosevelt's presidency. Grounded in careful archival research, this book reveals that the liberal social compact forged during the New Deal, World War II, and the postwar years included not only generous social benefits for the middle class—including Social Security, Medicare, and a host of expensive but hidden state subsidies—but also a commitment to preserve low taxes for the majority of American taxpayers.
In a surprising twist on conventional political history, Michelmore's analysis links postwar liberalism directly to the rise of the Republican right in the last decades of the twentieth century. Liberals' decision to reconcile public demand for low taxes and generous social benefits by relying on hidden sources of revenues and invisible kinds of public subsidy, combined with their persistent defense of taxpayer rights and suspicion of "tax eaters" on the welfare rolls, not only fueled but helped create the contours of antistate politics at the core of the Reagan Revolution.
Due to federalism, many of these programs differ, sometimes dramatically, from locality to locality, and thus in order to understand how these policies function, Glenn looks at the support a poor household would receive in five cities: Boston, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. This covers not only a geographic spread, but also the range of programs from those on the higher end of the spectrum to those at the lowest levels of support, giving the reader a feel for the range of funding levels and also the variety of different ways programs can be implemented.
In short, this book is meant to be a handy little teaching and research tool that a professor can assign over a night or two to fill a huge gap in the literature on a subject that many want to teach but lack the knowledge and resources to do.
Howard helps the reader to appreciate the historic links between the hidden welfare state and U.S. tax policy, which accentuate the importance of Congress and political parties. He also focuses on the reasons why individuals, businesses, and public officials support tax expenditures. The Hidden Welfare State will appeal to anyone interested in the origins, development, and structure of the American welfare state. Students of public finance will gain new insights into the politics of taxation. And as policymakers increasingly promote tax expenditures to address social problems, the book offers some sobering lessons about how such programs work.