Discussion Exercise American Welfare Programs

Discussion Exercise American Welfare Programs - 1...

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1 Discussion Exercise: Thinking about the American Welfare State Discuss the tables and charts on the following page and address these questions: 1) What are some of the differences between Social Insurance and Public Assistance a. Which one would you rather rely on if it was going to be a major source of income for a while? 2) What’s the difference between Entitlement and Non Entitlement programs? a. What is the practical difference (think when push comes to shove in the budget process at Fed and State govt levels). b. Which one would you rather rely on? 3) What’s the difference between Cash and In Kind benefit types? a. Why does the State give out In Kind benefits? Why not just give people cash all the time and then they can buy the in kind benefit on the market? 4) What the difference between a program that is “universal” and one that is “means tested”? a. Which one is going to be more costly to run? b. Which one would you rather depend on? c. What’s the big Tradeoff btw universalism and means testing? d. Why do progressive economists (who are always harping about efficiency) like means testing? Why do the political types like universalism? 5) Here’s a boring bureaucratic distinction that no one but a geek like Eric would get excited about: Some programs are administered FEDERALLY, while others are administered by the STATES or by LOCALITIES. a. Do these distinctions matter? If so, why? 6) A similar boring distinction is the way programs get funded: All Fed, All State, or more typically a Fed-State matching formula. a. Why does the American system often delegate admin to the states, but then have fed- state mixed funding? b. How did progressives use funding formulas to their advantage historically?
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2 Overview of Social Welfare Programs in America since 1935 Part I: History The 1930’s:Social Security Act: inaugurated the modern welfare era in 1935. First four titles in 1935: a) Old Age assistance to the States b) Federal OASI c) Grants to states for UI d) Grants to states for ADC e) Aid to the Blind Little action from 1939 until 1960, except the addition of disabled to OASD = OASDI up The 1960’s: A period of rapid growth in the Social Security Act as well as other SW provisions .
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