America's Struggle Against Poverty in the Twentieth Century by James T. Patterson

By James T. Patterson

This re-creation of Patterson's regular e-book includes the tale of battles over poverty and social welfare via what the writer calls the "amazing 1990s," these years of remarkable functionality of the economic climate. He explores more than a few concerns bobbing up from the commercial phenomenon--increasing inequality and calls for to be used of a stronger poverty definition. He focuses the tale at the effect of the hugely debatable welfare reform of 1996, glided by a Republican Congress and signed via a Democratic President Clinton, regardless of the laments of anguished liberals.

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23 Other progressive writers offered statistics suggesting that welfare spending increased both absolutely and per capita from 1900 to 1930. 4 million in 1928. Public aid to mothers of dependent children increased during the same period from $14,000 to $11 million. 9 percent in 1929. ”24 But neither Mitchell nor anyone else scrutinized such figures very carefully. No one paid enough attention to poverty between 1905 and 1930 to determine how many Americans actually received aid or for how long. The best one can do is to interpolate from government statistics, which suggest that spending for social insurance and welfare at all levels of government rose from around $114 million in 1913 to $500 million in 1929.

A few structuralists, like Robert Hunter, prescribed state intervention on a broad scale. Most others shrank from such strong medicine— in part because legislators would not swallow it, in part because their goals were stability and economic progress, not an egalitarian society. So they con- The Gospel of Prevention, Progressive Style 33 33 tented themselves with reforms to improve efficiency and prevent dislocation, in the expectation that a modest amount of social engineering would soon put matters right.

Despite this grim beginning, Hurry shared the optimism of his contemporaries. 9 Robert Kelso also believed in the vicious circle. ” But he, too, was a progressive environmentalist, an optimist, an evangel for prevention. He even called, though softly, for social insurance and redistribution of wealth. Along with other writers after the turn of the century, he jettisoned many nineteenth-century moralisms. These writers stressed above all the dominance of environment over heredity. “The only safe generalization to make about the dependent poor,” an editorialist in Charities and the Commons, a social work journal, proclaimed in 1908, “is that they are poor .

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