Blame Welfare, Ignore Poverty and Inequality

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 27, 2006 - Law
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With the passage of the 1996 welfare reform, not only welfare, but poverty and inequality have disappeared from the political discourse. The decline in the welfare rolls has been hailed as a success. This book challenges that assumption. It argues that while many single mothers left welfare, they have joined the working poor, and fail to make a decent living. The book examines the persistent demonization of poor single-mother families; the impact of the low-wage market on perpetuating poverty and inequality; and the role of the welfare bureaucracy in defining deserving and undeserving poor. It argues that the emphasis on family values - marriage promotion, sex education and abstinence - is misguided and diverts attention from the economic hardships low-income families face. The book proposes an alternative approach to reducing poverty and inequality that centers on a children's allowance as basic income support coupled with jobs and universal child care.
 

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Contents

2 The State of Poverty
17
Measuring Poverty
19
15000
22
A singleparent family with one parent working full time a
23
Over 26 months
28
19961999 Percent Poor for All
29
far from their economic origins In fact says Rank contrary
30
40
34
Welfare Bureaucracy as an Enactment of Moral Symbols
190
Once again according to the 1996 welfare reform welfare departments
195
The WelfaretoWork Approach
197
3 Applicants that are deemed not job ready are placed
205
Table 51 Percent changes in social services spending state fiscal
206
Table 52 US fiscal year 2002 use of TANF and
207
Adapted from Gais et al 2001
209
6 Work and the LowWage Labor Market
238

Under 18 years
39
0
43
50
44
0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000 35000 40000
48
250
54
USDepartmentofHealthandHumanServicesAnnualReporttoCongressIndicators
56
that is quitting a job because of child care and
67
3 The Response to Poverty and Inequality
70
Singlemother families have significantly increased because of divorce
76
but would result in a loss of purchasing power for
81
while40accessawelfareprograminfiveormoreyearsduringadulthood420
136
hard to be precise as to what is going on
140
4 Demonizing the SingleMother Family
150
undeserving they were excluded from the program and thus forced
157
Officeswereunderstaffedandworkersoverburdenedbythecomplexprocesses
158
The Attacks on Welfare
162
errors could be classified as paper errors unrelated to substantive
179
5 The Welfare Bureaucracy
186
What Kinds of Jobs Are Available? The LowWage Labor
239
70
240
recruit andreplace workersfurtherclosing off the industryfrom blacks At the
246
No regular
259
child care availability as well as affordability About 20 percent
273
7 Welfare Reform and Moral Entrepreneurship
282
In sum marriage can have a positive effect even among
289
in 2004129 In Arizona child support payments to a capped
303
of their own161 The percentage of teen mothers who received
308
Teen Children of Welfare Recipients
310
8 Addressing Poverty and Inequality
316
Even families who are near poor within 200 percent
317
the EITC and the state expenditures to help the working
323
Improving the Paid Labor Market
325
The Very Early Period
338
Waiting lists are long There is a lack of coordination
339
committed to universal child care108 In the meantime the Bush
342

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About the author (2006)

Joel F. Handler has been a Professor of Law, specializing in social welfare law and policy, poverty, welfare bureaucracies, and comparative welfare states. He has published several books and articles, has won the American Political Science Association prize for the best book in US National Policy (1997) and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has lectured in Europe, Israel, South America, and Asia.

Yeheskel Hasenfeld is a Professor of Social Welfare. His research focuses on the dynamic relations between social welfare policies, the organizations that implement these policies and the people who use their services. He has written extensively on human service organizations, the implementation of welfare reform, and the non-profit sector. His book on Mobilizing for Peace won the 2003 Virginia Hodgkinson Research Prize. He is a visiting scholar at several universities in Israel, Japan and Singapore.

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