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Social Welfare

Chapter 17

Majoritarian Politics
Nearly everyone benefits, and nearly everyone pays The opinion of majoritarian politics never really changes because it would be too risky
Ex.: social security and Medicare
No means test- this means the benefits are available to everyone

Client-Centered Politics
Few people benefit, yet everyone pays Changes with popular opinion
AFDC- aid to families with dependent children
Very popular in 1935 after the war because people had sympathy for widowed mothers 30 years later, it appear women were taking advantage of the program, and the people no longer supported it

Ex.: Medicaid and Food stamps

Means test- you must fall below a certain income level to qualify for benefits

Social Welfare
3 things shaped social welfare policy
Americans have a restricted view on who deserves to benefit America has been slower than others to embrace the welfare state We insist states need to play a great role in running welfare programs

Social welfare contd.

Americans base welfare on giving help to the deserving poor, not based on everyone getting their fair share America passes social security act in 1985, after 22 nations already had it It was not clear until the 1930s that the U.S government could do anything with the social policy

Social Security
Insurance for the unemployed and elderly
insurance program- created for the unemployed and the elderly
Everybody would be taxed and all would be eligible for insurance

Assistance program- created for the blind, dependent children, and aged
Only poor ( by the means test) are considered for assistance

It is very controversial as to which programs would be covered A majority of the Ways and Means committee opposed national health care programs By early 60s, most favored it and with heavy democratic support began to draft a Medicare plan
It was only for the elderly It didnt cover doctor visits Included Medicaid for the poor

Problems with Medicare

Main problem: as the population ages, there are not enough people to pay taxes 3 ways to solve this problem:
Raise retirement age, freeze benefits and raise social security taxes Privatize social security or invest in stock market Use 1st and 2nd options, but permit citizens to invest in mutual funds

Problems with Medicare Contd.

The program costs a lot of $, but it is not very efficient The fund will eventually run out of money People take advantage of program with unnecessary doctor visits, and doctors overcharge This problem can be solved by:
Having doctors work for the government Let elderly take their share of Medicare money and invest it in private health insurance companies

Problems with Medicare Contd.

As of now, health care in our country is not a top priority; terrorism is #1
Politicians will continue to propose new health care legislation as our current system struggles to produce success

Client Welfare Programs

AFDC was created because of the depression to help widowed and single women It allowed states to define need and administer the program There were many government restrictions:
States were told how to calculate income To give Medicaid to AFDC recipients Set a job-training program

Client Welfare Contd.

Food stamps Free school lunch Housing assistance Earned income tax credit Cash grants were given to poor, working parents

The program irritated everyone There were too many rules The benefits were going up and people were taking advantage of it Most women were never married, or divorced and they were just using the $ 2/3 of the women on the program at any given time had been on it for 8 years or more In 1996, the program was abolished

Majoritarian Politics
Both cost and benefit were widely distributed It will most likely be adopted if the benefits exceeds the cost Big debate whether it was legitimate for the federal government to provide these services Nothing in the constitution authorized such programs Argument that medical care was private Liberals swept the house, and the programs passed

Client Politics
Not a large cost, benefits a small group Most people believed able-bodied people should work for their benefits Peoples opinion of deserving welfare recipients has continually lessened TANF (temporary assistance for needy families)
People received job training and education (service strategy)
Preferred over income strategy (giving ppl. $)