TRAPPED IN AMERICAS SAFETY NET ONE FAMILYS STRUGGLE CHICAGO STUDIES IN AMERICAN POLITICS

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Trapped In America S Safety Net

Author : Andrea Louise Campbell
ISBN : 9780226140582
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 45.19 MB
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When Andrea Louise Campbell’s sister-in-law, Marcella Wagner, was run off the freeway by a hit-and-run driver, she was seven-and-a-half months pregnant. She survived—and, miraculously, the baby was born healthy. But that’s where the good news ends. Marcella was left paralyzed from the chest down. This accident was much more than just a physical and emotional tragedy. Like so many Americans—50 million, or one-sixth of the country’s population—neither Marcella nor her husband, Dave, who works for a small business, had health insurance. On the day of the accident, she was on her way to class for the nursing program through which she hoped to secure one of the few remaining jobs in the area with the promise of employer-provided insurance. Instead, the accident plunged the young family into the tangled web of means-tested social assistance. As a social policy scholar, Campbell thought she knew a lot about means-tested assistance programs. What she quickly learned was that missing from most government manuals and scholarly analyses was an understanding of how these programs actually affect the lives of the people who depend on them. Using Marcella and Dave’s situation as a case in point, she reveals their many shortcomings in Trapped in America’s Safety Net. Because American safety net programs are designed for the poor, Marcella and Dave first had to spend down their assets and drop their income to near-poverty level before qualifying for help. What’s more, to remain eligible, they will have to stay under these strictures for the rest of their lives, meaning they are barred from doing many of the things middle-class families are encouraged to do: Save for retirement. Develop an emergency fund. Take advantage of tax-free college savings. And, while Marcella and Dave’s story is tragic, the financial precariousness they endured even before the accident is all too common in America, where the prevalence of low-income work and unequal access to education have generated vast—and growing—economic inequality. The implementation of Obamacare has cut the number of uninsured and underinsured and reduced some of the disparities in coverage, but it continues to leave too many people open to tremendous risk. Behind the statistics and beyond the ideological battles are human beings whose lives are stunted by policies that purport to help them. In showing how and why this happens, Trapped in America’s Safety Net offers a way to change it.
Category: Political Science

Trapped In America S Safety Net

Author : Andrea Louise Campbell
ISBN : 022614044X
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 49.96 MB
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When Andrea Louise Campbell’s sister-in-law, Marcella Wagner, was run off the freeway by a hit-and-run driver, she was seven-and-a-half months pregnant. She survived—and, miraculously, the baby was born healthy. But that’s where the good news ends. Marcella was left paralyzed from the chest down. This accident was much more than just a physical and emotional tragedy. Like so many Americans—50 million, or one-sixth of the country’s population—neither Marcella nor her husband, Dave, who works for a small business, had health insurance. On the day of the accident, she was on her way to class for the nursing program through which she hoped to secure one of the few remaining jobs in the area with the promise of employer-provided insurance. Instead, the accident plunged the young family into the tangled web of means-tested social assistance. As a social policy scholar, Campbell thought she knew a lot about means-tested assistance programs. What she quickly learned was that missing from most government manuals and scholarly analyses was an understanding of how these programs actually affect the lives of the people who depend on them. Using Marcella and Dave’s situation as a case in point, she reveals their many shortcomings in Trapped in America’s Safety Net. Because American safety net programs are designed for the poor, Marcella and Dave first had to spend down their assets and drop their income to near-poverty level before qualifying for help. What’s more, to remain eligible, they will have to stay under these strictures for the rest of their lives, meaning they are barred from doing many of the things middle-class families are encouraged to do: Save for retirement. Develop an emergency fund. Take advantage of tax-free college savings. And, while Marcella and Dave’s story is tragic, the financial precariousness they endured even before the accident is all too common in America, where the prevalence of low-income work and unequal access to education have generated vast—and growing—economic inequality. The implementation of Obamacare has cut the number of uninsured and underinsured and reduced some of the disparities in coverage, but it continues to leave too many people open to tremendous risk. Behind the statistics and beyond the ideological battles are human beings whose lives are stunted by policies that purport to help them. In showing how and why this happens, Trapped in America’s Safety Net offers a way to change it.
Category: Political Science

Legacies Of Losing In American Politics

Author : Jeffrey K. Tulis
ISBN : 9780226515465
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 65.5 MB
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American politics is typically a story about winners. The fading away of defeated politicians and political movements is a feature of American politics that ensures political stability and a peaceful transition of power. But American history has also been built on defeated candidates, failed presidents, and social movements that at pivotal moments did not dissipate as expected but instead persisted and eventually achieved success for the loser’s ideas and preferred policies. With Legacies of Losing in American Politics, Jeffrey K. Tulis and Nicole Mellow rethink three pivotal moments in American political history: the founding, when anti-Federalists failed to stop the ratification of the Constitution; the aftermath of the Civil War, when President Andrew Johnson’s plan for restoring the South to the Union was defeated; and the 1964 presidential campaign, when Barry Goldwater’s challenge to the New Deal order was soundly defeated by Lyndon B. Johnson. In each of these cases, the very mechanisms that caused the initial failures facilitated their eventual success. After the dust of the immediate political defeat settled, these seemingly discredited ideas and programs disrupted political convention by prevailing, often subverting, and occasionally enhancing constitutional fidelity. Tulis and Mellow present a nuanced story of winning and losing and offer a new understanding of American political development as the interweaving of opposing ideas.
Category: Political Science

Welfare As We Knew It

Author : Charles Noble
ISBN : 9780195113372
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 66.33 MB
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Compared to other rich Western democracies, the U.S. does less to help its citizens adapt to the uncertainties of life in a market economy. In Welfare As We Knew It, Charles Noble offers a groundbreaking explanation of why America is so different. Drawing on research in comparative politics, history, and sociology, he demonstrates that deeply-rooted political factors, not public opinion, have limited what reformers have been able to accomplish. Rich historical analysis covering the Wilson administration to the present is followed by a provocative look at future U. S. social policy. Reformers who want government to do more, Noble argues, must refocus their activities on political and institutional change, such as campaign finance and labor-law reform, if they hope to succeed. Taut, comprehensive, and accessible, with a much-needed international perspective, this book will change the way we look at U. S. social policy.
Category: Political Science

The Politics Of Resentment

Author : Katherine J. Cramer
ISBN : 9780226349251
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 44.36 MB
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Since the election of Scott Walker, Wisconsin has been seen as ground zero for debates about the appropriate role of government in the wake of the Great Recession. In a time of rising inequality, Walker not only survived a bitterly contested recall that brought thousands of protesters to Capitol Square, he was subsequently reelected. How could this happen? How is it that the very people who stand to benefit from strong government services not only vote against the candidates who support those services but are vehemently against the very idea of big government? With The Politics of Resentment, Katherine J. Cramer uncovers an oft-overlooked piece of the puzzle: rural political consciousness and the resentment of the “liberal elite.” Rural voters are distrustful that politicians will respect the distinct values of their communities and allocate a fair share of resources. What can look like disagreements about basic political principles are therefore actually rooted in something even more fundamental: who we are as people and how closely a candidate’s social identity matches our own. Using Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s prominent and protracted debate about the appropriate role of government, Cramer illuminates the contours of rural consciousness, showing how place-based identities profoundly influence how people understand politics, regardless of whether urban politicians and their supporters really do shortchange or look down on those living in the country. The Politics of Resentment shows that rural resentment—no less than partisanship, race, or class—plays a major role in dividing America against itself.
Category: Political Science

Post Racial Or Most Racial

Author : Michael Tesler
ISBN : 9780226353159
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 41.14 MB
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When Barack Obama won the presidency, many posited that we were entering into a post-racial period in American politics. Regrettably, the reality hasn’t lived up to that expectation. Instead, Americans’ political beliefs have become significantly more polarized by racial considerations than they had been before Obama’s presidency—in spite of his administration’s considerable efforts to neutralize the political impact of race. Michael Tesler shows how, in the years that followed the 2008 election—a presidential election more polarized by racial attitudes than any other in modern times—racial considerations have come increasingly to influence many aspects of political decision making. These range from people’s evaluations of prominent politicians and the parties to issues seemingly unrelated to race like assessments of public policy or objective economic conditions. Some people even displayed more positive feelings toward Obama’s dog, Bo, when they were told he belonged to Ted Kennedy. More broadly, Tesler argues that the rapidly intensifying influence of race in American politics is driving the polarizing partisan divide and the vitriolic atmosphere that has come to characterize American politics. One of the most important books on American racial politics in recent years, Post-Racial or Most-Racial? is required reading for anyone wishing to understand what has happened in the United States during Obama’s presidency and how it might shape the country long after he leaves office.
Category: Political Science

Why Washington Won T Work

Author : Marc J. Hetherington
ISBN : 9780226299358
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 45.36 MB
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Polarization is at an all-time high in the United States. But contrary to popular belief, Americans are polarized not so much in their policy preferences as in their feelings toward their political opponents: To an unprecedented degree, Republicans and Democrats simply do not like one another. No surprise that these deeply held negative feelings are central to the recent (also unprecedented) plunge in congressional productivity. The past three Congresses have gotten less done than any since scholars began measuring congressional productivity. In Why Washington Won’t Work, Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph argue that a contemporary crisis of trust—people whose party is out of power have almost no trust in a government run by the other side—has deadlocked Congress. On most issues, party leaders can convince their own party to support their positions. In order to pass legislation, however, they must also create consensus by persuading some portion of the opposing party to trust in their vision for the future. Without trust, consensus fails to develop and compromise does not occur. Up until recently, such trust could still usually be found among the opposition, but not anymore. Political trust, the authors show, is far from a stable characteristic. It’s actually highly variable and contingent on a variety of factors, including whether one’s party is in control, which part of the government one is dealing with, and which policies or events are most salient at the moment. Political trust increases, for example, when the public is concerned with foreign policy—as in times of war—and it decreases in periods of weak economic performance. Hetherington and Rudolph do offer some suggestions about steps politicians and the public might take to increase political trust. Ultimately, however, they conclude that it is unlikely levels of political trust will significantly increase unless foreign concerns come to dominate and the economy is consistently strong.
Category: Political Science

Why Parties Matter

Author : John H. Aldrich
ISBN : 9780226495378
Genre : History
File Size : 39.75 MB
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Party competition in the South has been a subject of perennial interest to political scientists at least since V. O. Key's famous 1949 book on southern politics. The fascination stems from the fact that, unlike every other region in in the United States, for much of its history there has been precious little party competition in the South. Why Parties Matter argues that a competitive party system is essential in order to have the public's preferences and wants expressed and satisfied in elections. Or, in other words, a competitive party system is necessary for democracy to operate effectively. Aldrich and Griffin focus on the history of political parties, electoral competition, and effective democratic governance in the south during four historical eras - the Whig period that preceded the Civil War, the period after Reconstruction, the Jim Crow era, and the modern era. In each instance, they trace how party competition emerges and the conditions under which it can fail or succeed. While many scholars have argued that strong parties at the national level are necessary for change at the state or local level, the authors bring much evidence to bear showing that it is, instead, a bottom-up, candidate-centered phenomenon. Party competition arises when aspiring office holders determine that their prospects for a successful career are greater in what they call a "nascent party." These candidates first put together a party organization on the local level. Organizing then moves to the state level, and only when the party is solidified at that level will it be able to find sustained success at the national (Congressional) level. In the Whig period, the legacies of the pre-Jacksonian era stunted the development of a Southern party system, but the region was catching up to the North in terms of party competition in the years prior to the collapse of the Whig Party just before the Civil War. In the post-Reconstruction period, a nascent two-party system was abruptly and dramatically thwarted by the "Redemption" of the South by the white southern Democratic Party and in the Jim Crow period, competitive politics virtually disappeared. In the modern era, they find, by virtually every measure, that the Southern party system has caught up to the party system in the North, despite the seeming dominance of the Republican party in much of the south. According to the authors since 1980 the South has progressively become more electorally competitive, and, as a consequence of these more competitive elections, Southern elected officials, according to the authors, have become measurably more responsive to their constituents. In their concluding chapter, Aldrich and Griffin evaluate how, over time, democratic attitudes and behaviors in the South have evolved as compared to the North as the South has acquired a more developed party system and more competitive elections and they also assess the effectiveness of government in the two regions over time.
Category: History

Legislating In The Dark

Author : James M. Curry
ISBN : 9780226281858
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 77.61 MB
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The 2009 financial stimulus bill ran to more than 1,100 pages, yet it wasn’t even given to Congress in its final form until thirteen hours before debate was set to begin, and it was passed twenty-eight hours later. How are representatives expected to digest so much information in such a short time. The answer? They aren’t. With Legislating in the Dark, James M. Curry reveals that the availability of information about legislation is a key tool through which Congressional leadership exercises power. Through a deft mix of legislative analysis, interviews, and participant observation, Curry shows how congresspersons—lacking the time and resources to study bills deeply themselves—are forced to rely on information and cues from their leadership. By controlling their rank-and-file’s access to information, Congressional leaders are able to emphasize or bury particular items, exploiting their information advantage to push the legislative agenda in directions that they and their party prefer. Offering an unexpected new way of thinking about party power and influence, Legislating in the Dark will spark substantial debate in political science.
Category: Political Science

Who Governs

Author : James N. Druckman
ISBN : 9780226234557
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 46.8 MB
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America’s model of representational government rests on the premise that elected officials respond to the opinions of citizens. This is a myth, however, not a reality, according to James N. Druckman and Lawrence R. Jacobs. In Who Governs?, Druckman and Jacobs combine existing research with novel data from US presidential archives to show that presidents make policy by largely ignoring the views of most citizens in favor of affluent and well-connected political insiders. Presidents treat the public as pliable, priming it to focus on personality traits and often ignoring it on policies that fail to become salient. Melding big debates about democratic theory with existing research on American politics and innovative use of the archives of three modern presidents—Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan—Druckman and Jacobs deploy lively and insightful analysis to show that the conventional model of representative democracy bears little resemblance to the actual practice of American politics. The authors conclude by arguing that polyarchy and the promotion of accelerated citizen mobilization and elite competition can improve democratic responsiveness. An incisive study of American politics and the flaws of representative government, this book will be warmly welcomed by readers interested in US politics, public opinion, democratic theory, and the fecklessness of American leadership and decision-making.
Category: Political Science