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Chapter 11

2R03 Chapter 11 Textbook Notes.docx
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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCIOL 2R03
Professor
Lina Samuel
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter 11 – “Reversing the Race to the Bottom” (Textbook: p. 259-288)  From Welfare to Work:  “Welfare to Work” o Slogan in the U.S o Goal of a wide range of state programs in the 1990s o Poverty did not go away o People got jobs but remained poor o Analysis of poverty must also shift from welfare to work and especially to wages=some argue that this has been the underlying problem all along  The Challenge of the Margins: Antipoverty Programs (p. 260):  “Deserving poor” = widows and orphans in ancient times  Muslim, Jewish and Confucian ethical systems all call on good rulers to defend the poor and gives gifts of charity  First society to confront these problems was industrial Britain (William Wilberforce)  John Wesley: drunkenness, idleness, and sin were at the root of poverty but poor who were willing to change their ways needed to be given a second chance  Progressive Era Politicians such as “Fighting Bob” La Follette of Wisconsin and Roosevelt of New York promised poor farmers a “square deal” = changes in taxes helped low-income workers  Opinion since colonial times has been that poverty is the result of personal feelings, so gvnt involvement to help the poor is unnecessary and unwise  The New Deal (p. 261):  Great Depression of the 1930s=attitudes towards helping the poor changed  Herbert Hoover = “hands off” policies  Thought people should lift themselves out of the depression without government interference  Homeless people were living in “Hoovervilles”  Franklin Roosevelt called for a “new deal” = Relief, Recovery & Reform  Hungry, homeless and unemployed needed relief first  Then country needed to be led toward recovery  Finally, reforms were used to prevent another depression  First relief programs: “block grants” which they could spend on emergency assistance as needed  1935=Getting people off of handouts and into jobs (“welfare to work” although the term wasn’t used then)  Civilian Conservation Cooperation (CCC): Formed during Roosevelt’s famous “first hundred days” = building trails, bridges, etc.,  Works Program Administration (WPA): does the same and still runs today  2 other relief programs in 1935: Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) th  Already during the Progressive Era of the beginning of the 20 century, many states begun “widows aid” or “mother’s aid” programs = served to keep families together after child is taken to orphanage after a passing in the family  Social Security with the Social Security Act (1935): Retirement Programs  Supplementary Security Income (SSI): Programs provided income to disabled workers and their families  The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA): Hydro electronic projects to expand rural development  Reforms included expanded worker protection and expanded consumer protection, especially in banking and finance  It emphasized work  The War on Poverty (p.263):  Antipoverty policies gained attention during the Kennedy administration in the 1960’s  All Americans were sharing postwar prosperity  John Kenneth Gilbraith: “The Affluent Society”-BOOK o Economy driven by a consumer culture that divides the haves from the have-nots and fails to provide the basic needs for all  Michael Harrington: “The Other America” –BOOK o Topic of poverty in the U.S and the many places left out of economic growth  Mollie Orshansky: o Asked to measure absolute poverty o Calculated the cost of feeding a family (income level needed varied by family size) and multiplying this figure by three = still used today o The year 1960 was used as a benchmark against which U.S trends in poverty are measured  Lyndon Johnson: o After Kennedy’s assassination, he called the U.S a “Great Society” free from poverty and deprivation o Begun the War on Poverty o Food stands established o Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants & Children (WIC): For those with poor nutrition  Poverty dropped in the 1960s helped by a growing economy  Although, the enemy most feared was no longer rural and urban poverty, but global communist expansion, as it had been for much of the 1950s  The War On Welfare (p. 264):  International Revenue Service: Gave one check to those under a certain level under Nixon  SIME & DIME: o 2 of the biggest social science experiments o Against the negative income tax program: The Seattle and Denver Income Maintenance Experiments known as SIME & DIME o Divorce and marital separation increased among those in the income maintenance group o Program passed the test of not destroy the work incentive but failed the test of family preservation  Homeless living in “Reaganvilles” like the “Hoovervilles” because Reagan was doing a bad job  Reagan administration wanted to keep the economy growing by having little government interference = encouraged privatization of gvnt owned/ gvnt controlled activities  U.S focused more on deregulation: giving a freer hand to industry and big businesses  Private demand for workers skills would “trickle down” to everyone  Growth was the answer to poverty in this sense  Charles A. Murray: U.S was “losing ground” in the fight against poverty o Reagan adopted this term and said system was abused by “welfare queens”  1980s: 4.5 million children hungry  “Intergenerational poor” and “the new poor”  George Bush: called for Americans to combat poverty with “a thousand points of light” through local private and volunteer efforts  Turned to Bill Clinton  Tony Blair: “Clintonomics”-Global trade and growth but new attention to the needs of workers who were losing in this process  Throughout the 90’s, concern about the “new poverty” was the dark shadow of the “new prosperity” of globalization  Clinton tried to restore 1960s programs that failed in the 1980s  Elderly now at a lower risk of poverty than in the past  The Return of Welfare Reform (p. 267):  Mary Jo Bane & David Ellwood: o Clintons welfare reform advisors o “Poor Support” – Ellwood’s book suggested a 5 part plan: 1) Ensure everyone has medical protection 2) Make work pay so that working families are not poor: Expanding Earned Income Tax Credit which gives tax “refunds” to families and children who fall below the low-income level 3) Adopt a uniform child support assurance system: Minimum child support for unemployment and noncustodial parent 4) Convert welfare into a transitional system designed to provide serious but short-term financial, educational, and social support for people who are trying to cope with temporary setbacks: single and two-parent families 5) Provide minimum wage jobs to persons who have exhausted their transitional support: important during a recession  Majority of the members of Congress were less willing to spend money on child care and training and more concerned about enforcing work requirements, and more eager to place responsibility for welfare matters with the states  Clintons Welfare Reform Act of 1996: o Donna Shalala brought this controversy to attention o People called it “welf
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