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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.

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Social welfare

Social Welfare

Chapter 17

Majoritarian politics
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
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 welfare1
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
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
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


  • 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
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
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 d1
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
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
Client Welfare Cont’d.

  • Programs

    • Food stamps

    • Free school lunch

    • Housing assistance

    • Earned income tax credit

    • Cash grants were given to poor, working parents


  • 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 politics1
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
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. $)