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Race, Money, and the American Welfare State

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The American welfare state is often blamed for exacerbating social problems confronting African Americans while failing to improve their economic lot. Michael K. Brown contends that our welfare system has in fact denied them the social provision it gives white citizens while stigmatizing them as recipients of government benefits for low income citizens. In his provocative The American welfare state is often blamed for exacerbating social problems confronting African Americans while failing to improve their economic lot. Michael K. Brown contends that our welfare system has in fact denied them the social provision it gives white citizens while stigmatizing them as recipients of government benefits for low income citizens. In his provocative history of America's "safety net" from its origins in the New Deal through much of its dismantling in the 1990s, Brown explains how the forces of fiscal conservatism and racism combined to shape a welfare state in which blacks are disproportionately excluded from mainstream programs.Brown describes how business and middle class opposition to taxes and spending limited the scope of the Social Security Act and work relief programs of the 1930s and the Great Society in the 1960s. These decisions produced a welfare state that relies heavily on privately provided health and pension programs and cash benefits for the poor. In a society characterized by pervasive racial discrimination, this outcome, Michael Brown makes clear, has led to a racially stratified welfare system: by denying African Americans work, whites limited their access to private benefits as well as to social security and other forms of social insurance, making welfare their "main occupation." In his conclusion, Brown addresses the implications of his argument for both conservative and liberal critiques of the Great Society and for policies designed to remedy inner-city poverty.


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The American welfare state is often blamed for exacerbating social problems confronting African Americans while failing to improve their economic lot. Michael K. Brown contends that our welfare system has in fact denied them the social provision it gives white citizens while stigmatizing them as recipients of government benefits for low income citizens. In his provocative The American welfare state is often blamed for exacerbating social problems confronting African Americans while failing to improve their economic lot. Michael K. Brown contends that our welfare system has in fact denied them the social provision it gives white citizens while stigmatizing them as recipients of government benefits for low income citizens. In his provocative history of America's "safety net" from its origins in the New Deal through much of its dismantling in the 1990s, Brown explains how the forces of fiscal conservatism and racism combined to shape a welfare state in which blacks are disproportionately excluded from mainstream programs.Brown describes how business and middle class opposition to taxes and spending limited the scope of the Social Security Act and work relief programs of the 1930s and the Great Society in the 1960s. These decisions produced a welfare state that relies heavily on privately provided health and pension programs and cash benefits for the poor. In a society characterized by pervasive racial discrimination, this outcome, Michael Brown makes clear, has led to a racially stratified welfare system: by denying African Americans work, whites limited their access to private benefits as well as to social security and other forms of social insurance, making welfare their "main occupation." In his conclusion, Brown addresses the implications of his argument for both conservative and liberal critiques of the Great Society and for policies designed to remedy inner-city poverty.

31 review for Race, Money, and the American Welfare State

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Fascinating documentation of the ways federal policy from Social Security to post- WWII FHA/GI Bill systematically afforded economic benefits to whites that were not awarded to people of color. Brown then traces the accumulated impact of these policies in the racial inequities in wealth and opportunity that we continue to see today. If white people are wondering what on earth racism has to do with us, this book is a must-read because it has everything to do with us and the many benefits we have Fascinating documentation of the ways federal policy from Social Security to post- WWII FHA/GI Bill systematically afforded economic benefits to whites that were not awarded to people of color. Brown then traces the accumulated impact of these policies in the racial inequities in wealth and opportunity that we continue to see today. If white people are wondering what on earth racism has to do with us, this book is a must-read because it has everything to do with us and the many benefits we have that we did not earn.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mckinley

    Didn't read all of it but the chapters I did read are eye-opening.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mrbeaujangles23

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sean A Drake

  5. 5 out of 5

    Simone

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  7. 5 out of 5

    Travis Williams

  8. 5 out of 5

    Toni Reilly

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Woocher

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Alexander

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    Isaac Martin

  12. 5 out of 5

    Erin

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jessie

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  15. 5 out of 5

    Avid

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

  17. 5 out of 5

    Glenn

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

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    Luis

  20. 5 out of 5

    Megan Sullivan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Quin Rich

  22. 4 out of 5

    D.J.

  23. 5 out of 5

    qtasha

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lina

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

  27. 5 out of 5

    Krzysiek (Chris)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shaakira

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dani

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jen Schmidt

  31. 5 out of 5

    John Willis

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