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Social Welfare

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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 cont’d.
• 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 1930’s 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
                    Medicare
• 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 ’60’s, most favored it and with heavy
  democratic support began to draft a Medicare plan
   – It was only for the elderly
   – It didn’t 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 Cont’d.
• 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 Cont’d.
• 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 Cont’d.
• Programs
  –   Food stamps
  –   Free school lunch
  –   Housing assistance
  –   Earned income tax credit
  –   Cash grants were given to poor, working
      parents
                 Problems
• 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
• People’s 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. $)

				
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posted:9/3/2012
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