cover of book

Making Social Welfare Policy in America: Three Case Studies since 1950
by Edward D. Berkowitz
University of Chicago Press, 2020
Cloth: 978-0-226-69206-7 | Paper: 978-0-226-69223-4 | eISBN: 978-0-226-69237-1
Library of Congress Classification HV91.B395 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 361.610973

American social welfare policy has produced a health system with skyrocketing costs, a disability insurance program that consigns many otherwise productive people to lives of inactivity, and a welfare program that attracts wide criticism. Making Social Welfare Policy in America explains how this happened by examining the historical development of three key programs—Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare, and Temporary Aid to Needy Families. Edward D. Berkowitz traces the developments that led to each program’s creation. Policy makers often find it difficult to dislodge a program’s administrative structure, even as political, economic, and cultural circumstances change. Faced with this situation, they therefore solve contemporary problems with outdated programs and must improvise politically acceptable solutions. The results vary according to the political popularity of the program and the changes in the conventional wisdom. Some programs, such as Social Security Disability Insurance, remain in place over time. Policy makers have added new parts to Medicare to reflect modern developments. Congress has abolished Aid to Families of Dependent Children and replaced with a new program intended to encourage work among adult welfare recipients raising young children. 

Written in an accessible style and using a minimum of academic jargon, this book illuminates how three of our most important social welfare programs have come into existence and how they have fared over time. 
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