Pub. Date:
Cornell University Press
Race, Money, and the American Welfare State / Edition 1

Race, Money, and the American Welfare State / Edition 1

by Michael K. Brown, Michael E. BrownMichael K. Brown
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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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801485107
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 04/12/1999
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Michael K. Brown is Professor of Politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of Working the Street: Police Discretion and the Dilemmas of Reform.

What People are Saying About This

Kevin Boyle

"Capturing much of the subtlety of postwar politics, Michael Brown offers a largely original and provocative interpretation of the welfare state's limits, which he traces to the interaction of fiscal conservatism and racism. Brown makes a powerful argument, one that deserves to be heard."

Customer Reviews