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POLI 100 FINAL EXAM STUDY GUIDE Chapter 16: Welfare and Education Policy: Providing for Personal Security and Need By the end of the 1990s, the number of people had welfare rolls had been dramatically reduced this trend defied what had been called welfare policy’s “reverse gravity” law: welfare roles that went up but never came down; 2 major factors accounted for this change o There was a booming national economy with a steady decline in unemployment o 1996 Welfare Reform Act which shortened the length of eligibility and required that able-bodied recipients find work or risk losing benefits However in 2002 the economy had weakened and welfare rolls were rising while tax revenues were declining Also the recipients who had found work generally were the easiest to place The 2002 debate reflected these new realities while also bringing about old differences of philosophy on the best way to handle the welfare issue o Republicans – wanted to increase pressure on states to move people off welfare and into work, and argued for stricter adherence to the eligibility rules, tight controls on federal spending o Democrats – sought more funding for daycare, education, and job-training programs and to give states more latitude in administering the welfare program o Created a deadlock Senate shaping a legacy of “inaction” The federal system of government is another source of conflict o Has only played a significant role since the 1930s o Some programs are jointly run by the federal and state governments funded at different levels from one state to the next but operate within guidelines set down by the national gov and partially funded by Washington 1) Poverty in America: The Nature of the Problem a. Social welfare can be seen as any effort by government to improve social condition; more specifically it refers to efforts by government to help individuals meet basic human needs, including food, clothing, and shelter b. The poverty line is defined as the annual cost of a thrifty food budget for an urban family of 4, multiplied by 3 to include the cost of housing, clothes, and other necessities below that line is officially considered poor c. Poverty is concentrated among certain groups i. Children are the largest group, and most live with single parents
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ii. “the feminization of poverty” – the likelihood of a single- parent, female-headed family to be 5 times more likely as 2 income families to live under the poverty line iii. Also widespread among minority groups and more prevalent among rural areas iv. There is a sense of “invisibility” of poverty in America d. Many Americans argue that poverty is largely a matter of choice: that most low income Americans are unwilling to make the effort to hold a responsible job and get ahead in life and whose children receive little educational motivation at home e. However most poor Americans are poor by circumstance and it is for
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