Thirty years ago, the great national debate was how to help ordinary, workaday Americans achieve the good things in life. Today, we are preoccupied withand increasingly divided overhow to cope with the problems of poor and dependent Americans, most of whom cannot or will not work at the jobs available. Mead provides overwhelming and disturbing evidence that passive povertythe failure of most of the poor to work at allreflects defeatism more than lack of opportunity. In this controversial book, Mead proposes concrete steps to overcome the inertia of the nonworking poor trapped in the welfare system. If the poor return to work, he suggests, American politics would focus once again on the problems of the working Americans.
About the Author
Lawrence M. Mead is associate professor of politics at New York University. He is the author of Beyond Entitlement: The Social Obligations of Citizenship (1986), and he writes frequently for Commentary, The Public Interest, and other scholarly and general-interest publications.