Tagged: welfare

Marriage and “A Fair Shot”

I found the following quote from one of Obama’s speeches on his campaign website: “We are greater together than we are on our own. I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules.” After reading this quote, I wondered if the discourse of “a fair shot” is a useful way to put forth a political agenda.  On one hand, this is a standard...

The Political Value of Welfare

One of the latest Romney ads attacks President Obama for removing work provisions from Welfare Reform.  In the ad, disappointed-in-himself Obama (pictured left) sneakily gutted welfare reform by dropping the work requirements, so that as the ad states, “They just send you your welfare check.”  The ad’s claims are false or, as the fact-checking website Politifact put it, pants-on-fire.  What Obama has actually done is allow states to develop their own welfare-to-work programs.  The changes provide states with some flexibility regarding...

"Deserving" and "Undeserving" Welfare

Over a decade since the 1996 welfare reform bill, welfare is in the news again.  The latest controversy is over laws that seek to limit what welfare recipients can spend money on.  This comes shortly after state legislatures passed laws to require drug testing of welfare recipients.  These new laws are not a direct attack on what remains of anti-poverty programs in America.  Instead, these initiatives allow for both a deserving and an undeserving poor.  A moral evaluation of the...

Childcare and Work: The Privilege of Choice

“If you don’t believe that childcare is work, then try telling your parents or whoever took care of you that raising you was not work.  I don’t imagine that would go over well.”  I say this in my social problems class as a counterpoint to the assertion that welfare-recipients are lazy and immoral.  Most recently the sentiment was employed to defend wealthy “stay-at-home mom,” and wife of presidential candidate, Ann Romney.  The sentiment that childcare is work is fairly uncontested...

Gingrich’s Bling and Neoliberal Ideology

Many political candidates use their wealth as proof of their competence, work ethic, and expertise.  They craft campaign-ready stories about how a successful businessperson wishes to use their immense talents and work ethic to serve the nation.  At the same time, politicians have to convince voters that they share the concerns of the common person.  So, while wealth may be listed on the resume presented to voters, politicians omit the expenditures that accompany such wealth.  Wealthy politicians go out of...

Institutional Racism, Political framing, and Spending cuts

Institutional racism is one of the key concepts sociology professors try to impart to students.  Institutional racism refers to systemic processes which perpetuate racial inequality even in the absence of racial prejudice and intentional individual-level discrimination.  The concept helps students understand how decisions made in the past affects present-day inequality and furthermore that present-day decisions do not take place in a race-neutral realm.  Examining how institutions function discourages the use of anecdotal evidence and encourages students to employ a social-level...

The New Faces of Welfare: Overcoming the Stigma of State Assistance

Despite last week’s promising government figures showing a decline in the American unemployment rate, “Welfare and Citizenship: The Effects of Government Assistance on Young Adults’ Civic Participation,” serves as a reminder to social scientists that with every great social shift (such as the global economic downturn) we must re-examine our premises. The article, which relies heavily on data collected between 1996 and 2000, argues that declining civic participation can be causally linked to welfare participation. The authors echoed the concern...

Whose economic crisis?

nmccoy1 The media, the government, and the stock market are reporting and reflecting on the economic crisis that seems to worsening by the minute.  People are out of work, jobs are not paying enough, savings are disappearing and Congress must act now (see article below) to protect the millions affected.  But none of this is new or any less urgent today than it was five, ten and twenty years ago to a large population of marginalized peoples.  The question is,...