Welfare, Poverty, and the Liberal Dilemma
Baumgartner, Richard P.
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This paper is an attempt to explain how our liberal created welfare policies have been mis-directed, and why such policies are having the paradoxical effect of perpetuating the very poverty which they were designed to overcome. Such an explanation first requires that an alternative theory of the nature of poverty in America be developed. The development of such a theory is the subject of Chapter One. Actually, this alternative theory is more an explanation of the process of upward economic mobility, and Chapters Two and Three are devoted to examining how welfare inhibits this mobility process. Because the maintenance of a stable family structure is crucial to economic advancement, Chapter Two examines the family and its relationship to poverty. Chapter Three is concerned with the impact which welfare has on the work incentives of the poor, since work, like the maintenance of a stable family, is a critical factor in the overcoming of poverty. Chapter Four is an attempt to examine the degree to which racial discrimination is still economically debilitating to minority groups. The alternative theory of the nature of poverty developed in Chapter One holds that poverty is largely a transitory phenomenon when viewed in an historical perspective. Chapter Five, however, suggests that our welfare policies may be having the effect of making such poverty a permanent condition. By describing how welfare shapes the poor's environment, I attempt to explain why I believe that a welfare culture is developing which is reflective of that welfare environment. In Chapter Six I will conclude my paper with an examination of the dilemma which the liberals now face in regard to the problem of poverty in America.If you are not a current K College student, faculty, or staff member, email firstname.lastname@example.org to request access to this SIP.