Harrell R. Rodgers "American Poverty In A New Era Of Reform"
M.E. Sharpe | 2005-10 | ISBN: 0765615959 | 252 pages | PDF | 1,3 MB
Summary: A good, objective review of poverty since the 1996 reforms
In 1996, American welfare policy was changed in a fundamental way. This book seeks to summarize what has has happend since then. It is well-written concise, informative and relatively free of bias. It is a good book.
The overall conclusion of the book is that the 1996 reforms have worked well, but could be improved. As he shows, the 1996 reforms have dramatically reduced welfare rolls, dramatically increased employment among the poor and raised income among the poor. He has an in depth analysis of the different approaches taken by various states. (Under the new law, states are given a good deal of latitude to experiment with poverty policy and they have, in fact, taken quite dissmilar approaches.)
A few of the factual findings of the book are worth underlining.
First, the primary cause of the rise of poverty in recent decades is the collapse of the family. Rodgers does not put it quite that way. He says that poverty increased due to the rapid increase in the number of single-parent families. The evidence supporting this conclusion is overwhelming e.
Second, from a financial perspective, Medicaid is the 800 pound gorilla of American social policy. I did not know, and found it astonishing, that Medicaid was by far the largest federal social welfare program, costing nearly as much as everything else put together. Excluding Social Security, which nearly everyone puts into a separate category.) In part, this is because Medicaid covers many more people than other programs, such as Food Stamps. Nonetheless, it is disturbing that medical care would be so large a part of the budget. Rodgers does not explore this, but clearly something is very wrong here. Medical costs are plainly out of control in this country. To a degree, the increase in costs is due to increase in quality, technology and service level. But, come on, the numbers are absurd. When we are spending more on medical care for the poor than we are on literaly anything else on this side of the biudget, something is very wrong.
No Mirror(s) Please! (read
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