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The Three Faces of Welfare: Public Opinion and the Debate Over Reform

The Three Faces of Welfare: Public Opinion and the Debate Over Reform Abstract SOCIAL WELFARE policy in the United States is made in a sea of hostility, a point made well by Blendon et al1 in their article in this issue of the Archives. Americans, in contrast to Europeans, see no strong governmental responsibility for the poor; they fear that welfare breaks up families and discourages work; and they view the problems of welfare recipients as isolated from their lives. Because the peak of antiwelfare sentiment in 1994 coincided with the triumph of Congressional Republicans, it is easy to believe that it is public opinion that is moving the current welfare reform debate. However, American attitudes toward welfare are far from simple. We need to disentangle the following three elements of public opinion: long-term predispositions in the public, shorter-term cycles of public opinion, and a set of underlying social dilemmas that are symbolically linked to welfare. See also page 1065 The sobering References 1. Blendon RJ, Altman DE, Benson J, Brodie M, James M, Chervinsky G. The public and the welfare reform debate . Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med . 1995;149: 1065-1069.Crossref 2. Patterson JT. America's Struggle Against Poverty, 1900-1980 . Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press; 1981:109-110. 3. Asinn, Stern MJ. Dependency and Poverty: Old Problems in a New World . Lexington, Mass: Lexington Books; 1988. 4. Heclo H. Poverty politics . In: Danziger D, Sandefur G, Weinberg D, eds. Confronting Poverty: Prescriptions for Change . Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press; 1981:396-437. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine American Medical Association

The Three Faces of Welfare: Public Opinion and the Debate Over Reform

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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1995 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
1072-4710
eISSN
1538-3628
DOI
10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170230013001
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract SOCIAL WELFARE policy in the United States is made in a sea of hostility, a point made well by Blendon et al1 in their article in this issue of the Archives. Americans, in contrast to Europeans, see no strong governmental responsibility for the poor; they fear that welfare breaks up families and discourages work; and they view the problems of welfare recipients as isolated from their lives. Because the peak of antiwelfare sentiment in 1994 coincided with the triumph of Congressional Republicans, it is easy to believe that it is public opinion that is moving the current welfare reform debate. However, American attitudes toward welfare are far from simple. We need to disentangle the following three elements of public opinion: long-term predispositions in the public, shorter-term cycles of public opinion, and a set of underlying social dilemmas that are symbolically linked to welfare. See also page 1065 The sobering References 1. Blendon RJ, Altman DE, Benson J, Brodie M, James M, Chervinsky G. The public and the welfare reform debate . Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med . 1995;149: 1065-1069.Crossref 2. Patterson JT. America's Struggle Against Poverty, 1900-1980 . Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press; 1981:109-110. 3. Asinn, Stern MJ. Dependency and Poverty: Old Problems in a New World . Lexington, Mass: Lexington Books; 1988. 4. Heclo H. Poverty politics . In: Danziger D, Sandefur G, Weinberg D, eds. Confronting Poverty: Prescriptions for Change . Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press; 1981:396-437.

Journal

Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent MedicineAmerican Medical Association

Published: Oct 1, 1995

References