Social Policy in the United States: Future Possibilities in Historical Perspective

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Reforming health care, revamping the welfare system, preserving or cutting Social Security, creating employment programs for displaced employees, and revising U.S. social programs to help working parents with children - all of these endeavors and more are part of ongoing national debates about the future of social policy in the United States. In this wide-ranging collection of essays, renowned social scientist Theda Skocpol shows how historical understanding, centered on U.S. governmental institutions and shifting political alliances, can illuminate the limits and possibilities of American social policymaking both past and present. Readers will be surprised at many of the findings and arguments of this volume. Skocpol dispels the myth that Americans are inherently hostile to governmental social spending. When universal social programs jointly benefit the middle class and the poor, she shows, Americans since the nineteenth century have been willing to pay taxes for them and happy to partake of the security they provide. Insights from the past also illuminate why ideological attacks against "bureaucratic meddling" by the federal government repeatedly prove so potent in U.S. politics. Skocpol suggests why President Clinton's proposals for comprehensive health care reforms were so quickly attacked, even though Americans agree that the health financing system is in crisis and support universal insurance coverage.
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Editorial Reviews

An important, provocative, and often persuasive argument.
From the Publisher
"An important, provocative, and often persuasive argument."Choice
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Table of Contents

Introduction: American Social Policies: Future Possibilities in Historical Perspective 3
Ch. 1 State Formation and Social Policy in the United States 11
Ch. 2 America's First Social Security System: The Expansion of Benefits for Civil War Veterans 37
Ch. 3 Gender and the Origins of Modern Social Policies in Britain and the United States 72
Ch. 4 The Road to Social Security 136
Ch. 5 Redefining the New Deal: World War II and the Development of Social Provision in the United States 167
Ch. 6 The Limits of the New Deal System and the Roots of Contemporary Welfare Dilemmas 209
Ch. 7 "Brother Can You Spare a Job?" Work and Welfare in the United States 228
Ch. 8 Targeting within Universalism: Politically Viable Policies to Combat Poverty in the United States 250
Ch. 9 Is the Time Finally Ripe? Health Insurance Reforms in the 1990s 275
Ch. 10 From Social Security to Health Security? 293
Conclusion: Remaking U.S. Social Policies for the 21st Century 297
Index 313
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