Welfare Reform

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					              Welfare Reform
• What is welfare?
  –   Farm subsidies?
  –   Subsidies to colleges and universities?
  –   Tax credits (for mortgages, children, etc)
  –   Cash benefits?
  –   Food stamps? Unemployment Insurance?
  –   “Bail outs” of failing businesses?
  –   Social security? Medicare?
                 Extra Credit
• Remember: Two ways, max 2 points each
• Clarification: Concrete evidence/artifact of gender
  norms- include your written explanation of how
  the example you provide exemplifies social norms
  about gender and what the norm is
• Deadline for extra credit: April 28 (Last day of
• Just because you hand something in, doesn’t mean
  you get extra credit. You need to meet the criteria.
  Leaving it until the last minute means you will not
  have opportunity to fix your submission.
          Welfare Programs
• Cash and in-kind assistance programs
  targeted to the poor
  – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  – Food Stamps
  – Section 8 Housing Assistance
  – Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
             Policy History
• “Big Bang” of social spending in the U.S. is
  the New Deal adopted in 1935.
• Cross-national comparison: Later than most
  welfare states, and subsequent expansion
  has been more limited than in other places
• US considered a “laggard” in social policy
• Newer scholarship points to development of
  widow’s & veterans pensions after civil war
          Policy History cntd
• Set a different path for U.S. welfare, driven
  by middle class women social reformers,
  not a strong labor movement
• Later developments preserve this pattern
• New Deal
• 5% of pop receiving benefits1971: backlash
• Few changes until Personal Responsibility
  Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act 1996
             1996 Welfare
• Most Important Aspects of Welfare Reform
  –   switch from entitlement to block grant
  –   work-requirements
  –   time limits (lifetime limit of 5 years)
  –   new requirements for child support
  –   “marriage promotion” (family caps, penalties)
  –   cuts to food stamp program
  –   eliminated aid to legal and illegal immigrants
  –   increased funding for training and child care
 Welfare Reform in 2004: Myths
           and Facts
• Race:
  – Most welfare families are African American
  – Most welfare families are Hispanic
  – African Americans and Hispanics are
    overrepresented on welfare rolls
• Family Size:
  – Most welfare families have large numbers of
  – Most welfare families have a larger than
    average family size
            Facts or Myths?
• Most welfare recipients are not working
• Welfare recipients have low levels of
• Most spells on welfare are long, more than
  ten years
• Welfare pays people an amount equivalent
  to the poverty line
        Barriers Faced by Welfare
• Individual:
   – 50% to 75% victims of Domestic Violence
   – Disability or caring for disabled person
   – Young children and access to child care
   – Education, Language Barriers and Literacy- 50% do not
     have a high school degree
   – Drug and Alcohol Addiction
• Structural
   – Features of low wage labor market
   – Gender structure of labor market; Discrimination
          Poverty in the US
• US has highest degree of economic
  inequality among OECD nations
• Highest rate of poverty
• Policies do least to alleviate poverty
• Poverty Line: History
• Compare to basic needs-you, family of 4
• Current poverty line: $9, 827 per year;
  $19,157 for a family of four
   Welfare (TANF) in Context
• Now benefits less than 2% of population
• Comprises about 1% of fed budget
                Poverty Rates
•   Overall: 12.5%; 35.9 million people
•   Non-Hispanic whites: 8.2%
•   Black: 24.4%
•   Hispanic: 23%
•   Single men: 18%
•   Single women: 23%
•   Female single parents: 28%
•   Male single parents: 13%
•   Married couples: 5.4%

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