Social Welfare Policymaking



hello POS 201 students this is your video lecture on social welfare policy making what I want to do with this lecture just kind of introduce you to a little bit of the history some of the basics of social welfare policy in America and so quick you know quick definition welfare basically means a wide range of social and economic services provided by government including health care education unemployment retirement insurance assistance to the poor and public housing so it takes many forms now one misconception is that welfare is only for the benefit of the very poor those people below the poverty line but that is actually not the case most programs actually benefit the middle class such as medicare social security pensions and plamen insurance so a lot of social programs are actually designed to help the middle class and compared to our Western European counterparts the United States is has provides fewer and less extensive benefits I can think of it as a scale in one end you have social welfare programs and you know sort of more socialism on the other end you sort of capitalism America's a little bit more on the capitalistic stale scale compared to our Western European democracies and a lot of that could be because of the column tradition of individualism and suspicion of government power we've always as a our political culture always seems pretty suspicious of government being involved in the affairs of individuals on and US Supreme Court though first permitted welfare legislation the late 1930s under FDR's new deal policies not talk about that a little bit later some of the downsides for Europe because of their extensive social welfare programs they have been as you know experiencing fiscal crisis budget crisis and cries for austerity their unemployment usually sits a little bit higher than ours usually normal unemployment for the United States is about six percent normal unemployment for them is ten percent so there that is some of the effects of that all right now social affair policy can be divided into two main categories those the benefit the poor and that's like three stamps healthcare housing aid and those are what are called means-tested programs you have to be at a certain level below the poverty line to receive certain benefits and then those those that have benefit the general public like social insurance programs and then also regulations that protect consumers and worker safety also fall under this category of social welfare alright so entitlement programs those are government benefits that certainly qualified individuals are titled to by law regard regardless of need Social Security follows under this category they've paid into it their entire life by law they're entitled to receive their social welfare checks when they retire means-tested programs those are the ones that go to certain individuals that are living below the poverty line and so means-tested means that they have to fall within a certain income level category in order to qualify for the assistance all right now to talk about income America one thing that often comes up and what we'll discuss in class further is income distribution as you know there's a lot of talk among pundits and politicians about the shrinking middle class about the growing income gap the one percent owning a large portion of wealth in America and so those are things that also fall under this category and here's a table from one of my textbooks that kind of outlines which shares of wealth / income quintile see of the lowest fifth of the country and on the highest fifth and then how much what percent would income shares do they hold and this is what ill straight how its kind of slowly changed over time you can see that third fifth here it does sort of you can see that's been shrinking somewhat insane for the fourth fifth I'll the lowest has stayed relatively the same actually has gotten a little worse but and then with pundits and politicians are talking about particularly during this election season is that what the highest fifth have and they contain in their income their share of income continues to grow all right so how do we define poverty in America well the poverty line is what a family must spend for was considered that's a steer standard of living or you know just like the bare bones and 2 2015 poverty line for family three was considered twenty thousand ninety and currently forty six point seven million Americans are about fourteen point eight percent were considered poor as of last year what's important to keep in mind though is that people move in and out of the poverty line all the time sometimes I fall below sometimes they're able to rise rise out either because a better job or sudden loss in the families a lot of different factors that affect what puts a person below the poverty line I one trend we need we will probably discuss more in classes what's called the feminization of poverty so if we were looking at poverty say during the New Deal FDR 1930s 1940s the the income or the group that was considered the most impoverished were the elderly Social Security with the with the creation of Social Security out of the benefits that is no longer the case now nowadays it's high rates of poverty are highest among unmarried women and then this shows so the poverty rates poverty rates by race so you can see in 1965 civil rights movement blacks have slowly been getting a little bit better Hispanics and blacks currently probably about it the same rates of poverty and then you can see the comparison here with a pacific islander and then non-hispanic whites so poverty does seem to be higher for minority groups and we'll discuss those reasons in the class alright so what part does government play well taxation now our system is a progressive tax system people with higher incomes pay a greater share some politicians call for more proportional tax where all peoples pay say the same share of their income like five or seven percent across the board no matter what your income level is regressive taxation nobody really advocates that no one wants to put more heavier burden on the poor and then another way that money goes back to the impoverished is the Earned Income Tax Credit or the negative income tax income to very poor people in lieu of charging them in income tax alright ah see yeah so I've already talked about this benefits given by go directly to individuals some transfer benefits or actual money such as Social Security or entitlements other benefits are where recipients get benefit without actually getting money such as food stamps and those are the means-tested programs all right then here's a table from one of my textbooks that shows what you know entitlement programs versus means-tested programs so you know what description who the beneficiaries are where the funding comes from so Social Security get a monthly check goes to retired or disabled people payroll tax on employees and employers so if you know if you're working a part-time or full-time job you'll see your FICA taxes deducted from every paycheck that's that's your Social Security and then you have something like food stamps on the bottom there those are coupons that can be used by food people whose income falls below a certain level it's means-tested program and that comes from general federal revenues or taxes alright so then I want to give you a brief history of welfare policy in the matin in America starts in the 1930s with and before the 1930s assisting the impoverished of the poor was thought of as a private function conducted by charities and churches but with the Great Depression unemployment rose to twenty-five percent the economy crashed the stock market crashed the financial system collapsed as the 1930s President Roosevelt and Congress established the Social Security Act of 1935 and these all went to the Supreme Court they're all challenging the court and it very controversial at the time much like Obama's Affordable Care Act it was pretty controversial for our time period these are also a lot of opposition to Social Security Act all they all want to Supreme Court but basically with the included retirement pensions for senior citizen because as I mentioned before the highest rates of poverty at that time were among the elderly unemployment insurance and eight needy families and they would aid to families with dependent children basically money grants to poor families with children and so that continued on until 1995 and i'll talk about what reforms happen then okay so Social Security Act of 1935 the next major expansion of welfare social welfare policy in America was under President Clinton excuse me lyndon b johnson who declared a war on poverty and created many new social welfare programs you know americans we like to declare war and everything war on drugs war on terror we'd also declared war on poverty and so he established new welfare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid and the food stamp program and so and a lot of this was also part of JFK's John F Kennedy 'he's original plan but since he was assassinated it was lyndon b johnson who sort enacted john f kennedy's vision all right then we get up to raw Reagan who as you know the argument between Democrats and conservatives and Republicans is you know conservatives and Republicans believe that welfare does what it creates dependencies and people who are welfare have less incentive to go out and find a job Democrats you know on the other side argue that you know people sometimes you know life circumstances take them in bad directions and they need assistance to get out of poverty President Reagan though you know a Republican president cut welfare benefits and try to remove people from benefit rolls and and this is something we'll talk about classes you know considering the chart I showed her earlier about the poverty rates among minority groups attitudes toward welfare I've become race coated the belief that most people on welfare are african-americans and so and there's a lot of perception that goes along with that of some of it very negative as we would talk about class there's kind of two visions of why people are poor a lot of Americans believe that a person is poor because they're lazy or they're not working hard enough well attitudes sometimes in other areas the world is that usually a social environment has a lot of more involvement factors for why people are born are impoverished okay so during the 1980s and 90s basically aid to the poor shifted reforming aid to families with dependent children that program begun under FDR became the goal of President Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress to reform and in 1996 they passed Clinton passed a reform bill on welfare and it was known as the personal responsibility and work opportunity act and basically this is currently how the welfare system operates each state receives a fixed amount of money to run its own welfare programs so if you think about what we talked about when we were doing the federalism section you know this is kind of relationship between the state and the federal level 3rd level mandates that each state has to give out at least a minimum of some social welfare programs and gives them a chunk of money to administer these welfare programs basically the idea is that people are in welfare and must be seeking employment and find work within two years this lifetime limit of five years placed on welfare so you can't be on welfare for more than five years total X and less of course there's other circumstances such as a disability or something like that and then there's no limitation and then the original program under FDR was changed to TANF temporary assistance for needy families and while welfare rolls declined it there was no correlation with rising income in that sensor so there's a so the evidence is rather mixed on whether welfare rolls declined because of the changes they made or they simply just made it harder or for people to stay on welfare and then they would sort of give up and so that's one of the problems with measuring unemployment unemployment only measures those people were actively seeking a job it doesn't measure those people who have given up completely all right so well for so the TANF for the things that are changed about the assistance for needy families with dependent children so national government provides block grants estates assistant financings programs all adults have to find work within two years families were limited to five years adults 50 under without triggering courtesy food stands for three months maximum in a three-year period and of course it makes legal immigrants legal immigrants parental eligible for benefits in the first five years in the United States so you often hear a lot of talk about all well you know the immigrants that the country while they're just drain on the system well law actually prevents them not that there's not ways around that all right so um and also another thing that welfare rolls declined in the 1990s is we there was a booming economy we achieved almost full employment which is usually considered about four percent unemployment it was the Information Age tech boom period we had a balanced budget and so the 90s were good overall see and then we have to talk briefly about the problems of Social Security so basically as you know the after world war two do what's called the baby boomer generation there was a big baby boom after world war two and so problem is that now we have declining birth rates and so the number of people paying into the system is declining while the number of right retirees all those baby boomers as they retire is increasing so Social Security is going to go to into the red sometime 2038 2040 according to what whose predictions you read but basically the number the trust fund that was created for Social Security is eventually going to run out because the ratio of workers to beneficiaries is as narrowing so I at some time currently 23 days which some people predict payouts for Social Security looks seed the money coming in and so the question is and this is where you know politicians arguing and fight about is what's the solution you cut the benefits do you raise taxes you take more out of people's paychecks what's the solution do you raise the retirement age and here's a fun fact well maybe not fun fact but when Social Security has created the average life expectancy was 60 years of age and so they set the age for retirement at 65 banking that people would die before they could collect their benefits kind of more of it but anyway but if you think about it now and the average life expectancy for men and women is much higher people are living longer and so that's another reason why Social Security is running out people living longer and drawing on those

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