The Divided Welfare State: The Battle over Public and Private Social Benefits in the United States

Cambridge University Press
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The Divided Welfare State is the first comprehensive political analysis of America's system of public and private social benefits. Everyone knows that the American welfare state is less expensive and extensive, later to develop and slower to grow, than comparable programs abroad. American social spending is as high as spending in many European nations. What is distinctive is that so many social welfare duties are handled by the private sector with government support. With historical reach and statistical and cross-national evidence, The Divided Welfare State demonstrates that private social benefits have not been shaped by public policy, but have deeply influenced the politics of public social programs - to produce a social policy framework whose political and social effects are strikingly different than often assumed. At a time of fierce new debates about social policy, this book is essential to understanding the roots of America's distinctive model and its future possibilities.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Sep 9, 2002
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Pages
433
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ISBN
9781139936583
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Americas (North, Central, South, West Indies)
History / Modern / 20th Century
Political Science / American Government / General
Political Science / General
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This content is DRM protected.
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Despite achieving monumental reforms in the United States such as the eight-hour workday, a federal minimum wage, and workplace health and safety laws, organized labor’s record on much of its agenda has been mixed. Tracy Roof’s sweeping examination of labor unions and the American legislative process explains how this came to be and what it means for American workers.

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.

Taxes dominate contemporary American politics. Yet while many rail against big government, few Americans are prepared to give up the benefits they receive from the state. In Tax and Spend, historian Molly C. Michelmore examines an unexpected source of this contradiction and shows why many Americans have come to hate government but continue to demand the security it provides.

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.

Through a practical introduction to the policies of the American welfare state—a wide-ranging subject much discussed but seldom described—this concise volume details the four main areas of social welfare policy: housing assistance, nutrition assistance, income assistance, and medical assistance. In plain, approachable language, author Brian Glenn explains, for example, how Section 8 housing vouchers function, what WIC is, the Medicare program, and what Temporary Aid to Needy Families does. It is written in a manner that allows a complete novice to understand these programs in a brisk and comprehensive fashion that is both short enough to assign over a couple of nights in a course and yet detailed enough for the programs to be understood at a quite nuanced level.

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.

America's leaders say the economy is strong and getting stronger. But the safety net that once protected us is fast unraveling. With retirement plans in growing jeopardy while health coverage erodes, more and more economic risk is shifting from government and business onto the fragile shoulders of the American family. In The Great Risk Shift, Jacob S. Hacker lays bare this unsettling new economic climate, showing how it has come about, what it is doing to our families, and how we can fight back. Behind this shift, he contends, is the Personal Responsibility Crusade, eagerly embraced by corporate leaders and Republican politicians who speak of a nirvana of economic empowerment, an "ownership society" in which Americans are free to choose. But as Hacker reveals, the result has been quite different: a harsh new world of economic insecurity, in which far too many Americans are free to lose. The book documents how two great pillars of economic security--the family and the workplace--guarantee far less financial stability than they once did. The final leg of economic support--the public and private benefits that workers and families get when economic disaster strikes--has dangerously eroded as political leaders and corporations increasingly cut back protections of our health care, our income security, and our retirement pensions. Blending powerful human stories, big-picture analysis, and compelling ideas for reform, this remarkable volume will hit a nerve, serving as a rallying point in the vital struggle for economic security in an increasingly uncertain world.
“Keep your government hands off my Medicare!” Such comments spotlight a central question animating Suzanne Mettler’s provocative and timely book: why are many Americans unaware of government social benefits and so hostile to them in principle, even though they receive them? The Obama administration has been roundly criticized for its inability to convey how much it has accomplished for ordinary citizens. Mettler argues that this difficulty is not merely a failure of communication; rather it is endemic to the formidable presence of the “submerged state.”

In recent decades, federal policymakers have increasingly shunned the outright disbursing of benefits to individuals and families and favored instead less visible and more indirect incentives and subsidies, from tax breaks to payments for services to private companies. These submerged policies, Mettler shows, obscure the role of government and exaggerate that of the market. As a result, citizens are unaware not only of the benefits they receive, but of the massive advantages given to powerful interests, such as insurance companies and the financial industry. Neither do they realize that the policies of the submerged state shower their largest benefits on the most affluent Americans, exacerbating inequality. Mettler analyzes three Obama reforms—student aid, tax relief, and health care—to reveal the submerged state and its consequences, demonstrating how structurally difficult it is to enact policy reforms and even to obtain public recognition for achieving them. She concludes with recommendations for reform to help make hidden policies more visible and governance more comprehensible to all Americans.

The sad truth is that many American citizens do not know how major social programs work—or even whether they benefit from them. Suzanne Mettler’s important new book will bring government policies back to the surface and encourage citizens to reclaim their voice in the political process.
Despite costing hundreds of billions of dollars and subsidizing everything from homeownership and child care to health insurance, tax expenditures (commonly known as tax loopholes) have received little attention from those who study American government. This oversight has contributed to an incomplete and misleading portrait of U.S. social policy. Here Christopher Howard analyzes the "hidden" welfare state created by such programs as tax deductions for home mortgage interest and employer-provided retirement pensions, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Targeted Jobs Tax Credit. Basing his work on the histories of these four tax expenditures, Howard highlights the distinctive characteristics of all such policies. Tax expenditures are created more routinely and quietly than traditional social programs, for instance, and over time generate unusual coalitions of support. They expand and contract without deliberate changes to individual programs.

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.

From six-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, FOX News star, and radio host Mark R. Levin comes a groundbreaking and enlightening book that shows how the great tradition of the American free press has degenerated into a standardless profession that has squandered the faith and trust of the American public, not through actions of government officials, but through its own abandonment of reportorial integrity and objective journalism.

Unfreedom of the Press is not just another book about the press. Levin shows how those entrusted with news reporting today are destroying freedom of the press from within: “not government oppression or suppression,” he writes, but self-censorship, group-think, bias by omission, and passing off opinion, propaganda, pseudo-events, and outright lies as news.

With the depth of historical background for which his books are renowned, Levin takes the reader on a journey through the early American patriot press, which proudly promoted the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, followed by the early decades of the Republic during which newspapers around the young country were open and transparent about their fierce allegiance to one political party or the other.

It was only at the start of the Progressive Era and the twentieth century that the supposed “objectivity of the press” first surfaced, leaving us where we are today: with a partisan party-press overwhelmingly aligned with a political ideology but hypocritically engaged in a massive untruth as to its real nature.
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