Why America Lost the War on Poverty--And How to Win It / Edition 1

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In a provocative assessment of American poverty and policy from 1950 to the present, Frank Stricker examines an era that has seen serious discussion about the causes of poverty and unemployment. Analyzing the War on Poverty, theories of the culture of poverty and the underclass, the effects of Reaganomics, and the 1996 welfare reform, Stricker demonstrates that most antipoverty approaches are futile without the presence (or creation) of good jobs. Stricker notes that since the 1970s, U.S. poverty levels have remained at or above 11%, despite training programs and periods of economic growth. The creation of jobs has continued to lag behind the need for them. Stricker argues that a serious public debate is needed about the job situation; social programs must be redesigned, a national health care program must be developed, and economic inequality must be addressed. He urges all sides to be honest-if we don't want to eliminate poverty, then we should say so. But if we do want to reduce poverty significantly, he says, we must expand decent jobs and government income programs, redirecting national resources away from the rich and toward those with low incomes. Why America Lost the War on Poverty-And How to Win It is sure to prompt much-needed debate on how to move forward.

About the Author:
Frank Stricker is professor of history at California State University, Dominguez Hills

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
What is most powerful about Stricker's overview is how he consistently presents the political and economic decisions that have sustained poverty over a half century.—Journal of Social History
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807858042
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 9/10/2007
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Frank Stricker is professor of history at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

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Table of Contents

Preface     xi
Introduction     1
The Golden Age of Laissez-Faire?: The 50s
The 1950s: Limited Government, Limited Affluence     9
Wars on Poverty: The 60s
Planning the War on Poverty: Fixing the Poor or Fixing the Economy?     35
Evaluating the War on Poverty: The Conservatism of Liberalism     61
Moynihan, the Dissenters, and the Racialization of Poverty: A Liberal Turning Point That Did Not Turn     83
Statistics and Theory of Unemployment and Poverty: Lessons from the 60s and the Postwar Era     101
Toward a War on the Poor: The 70s and 80s
The Politics of Poverty and Welfare in the 70s: From Nixon to Carter     117
Too Much Work Ethic: One Reason Poverty Rates Stopped Falling in the 70s, and the Stories That Were Told about It     141
Cutting Poverty or Cutting Welfare: Conservatives Attack Liberalism     157
Reagan, Reaganomics, and the American Poor, 1980-1992     183
The Poor You Will Always Have with You-If You Don't Do the Right Thing: 1993-Present
Staying Poor in the Clinton Boom: Welfare Reform, the Nearby Labor Force, and the Limits of the Work Ethic     209
Bush and Beyond: On Solving and Not Solving Poverty     231
Unemployment, Poverty, Earnings, and Household Structure     245
Annual Official Civilian Unemployment Rate and Author's Estimate of Real Rate, 1959-2005     245
U.S. Poverty Rates, 1950-2004     246
Real Weekly Earnings of Production and Nonsupervisory Workers in the Private Sector, 1964-2005     246
Percentage of Poor by Household Type, 1959, 1979, 1998     247
Groups Often Left Out of Antipoverty Discussions in the 60s and Today     249
Notes     251
Bibliographical Essay     325
Index     329
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