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So You Think I Drive a Cadillac? : Welfare Recipients' Perspectives on the System and Its Reform

by
Edition:
2nd
ISBN13:

9780205487394

ISBN10:
0205487394
Format:
Paperback
Pub. Date:
1/1/2007
Publisher(s):
Allyn & Bacon

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This is the 2nd edition with a publication date of 1/1/2007.
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  • "So You Think I Drive a Cadillac?" Welfare Recipients' Perspectives on the System and Its Reform

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Summary

This down-to-earth look at the welfare system provides readers with stories from welfare recipients themselves and from those who recently left welfare for work: how they got onto welfare, what the reality of welfare (and welfare reform) is for them, issues in raising their families, their plans, hopes, and dreams are for the future, and some of the struggles they face as they try to leave the welfare system. #xA0; Welfare recipients who were interviewed by the author in Florida and Oregon share their perspectives on work requirements, family caps, time limits, and other features of the new welfare reform (TANF) program. They discuss the importance of a livable wage and health insurance in providing the needed security to leave welfare for good. These qualitative interviews are theoretically grounded, and supplemented with up-to-date statewide and national data on welfare reform and its consequences. #xA0; The author says, #x1C;Underneath the political rhetoric and welfare statistics are real live human beings who are trying to make sense out of their lives.#x1D; Their voices provide a crucial counterpoint to the politicians and policy #x1C;experts#x1D; who have shaped the policy reform initiative. They show us that the so-called welfare problem is related to the insecurity of low-tier work in the United States.

Table of Contents

Preface vii
Acknowledgments ix
1 Introduction: Putting a Face on Welfare 1(28)
Critical and Feminist Frameworks
6(3)
Specific Contributions of This Study of Lived Experience
9(2)
Welfare and Public Policy
11(3)
Where Are the Voices of Welfare Recipients in the Discussion?
14(1)
A National Profile of Welfare Recipients
15(7)
Who Are the Participants in This Study?
22(3)
Conclusion and Organization
25(3)
Critical Thinking Questions
28(1)
2 Historical and Persisting Dilemmas: How Do We Explain Poverty, What Should We Do About It? 29(23)
History of Cash Assistance
30(9)
Recent Attempts at Welfare Reform
39(4)
Explanations of Poverty and Welfare Use
43(8)
Individualism
44(3)
Social Structuralism
47(1)
Culture of Poverty
48(2)
Fatalism
50(1)
Critical Thinking Questions
51(1)
3 Stigma and Discrimination 52(27)
Awareness of Societal Attitudes Toward Welfare Recipients
54(10)
Racism and Welfare
57(4)
Contexts Where Stigma and Discrimination Occur
61(3)
Managing Stigma
64(14)
Denial
64(1)
Distancing Themselves from Other Welfare Recipients
65(8)
Blaming External Forces: "It's Not My Fault."
73(1)
Extolling the Importance of Motherhood
74(4)
Critical Thinking Questions
78(1)
4 Why Welfare? 79(31)
The Influence of Social Structure
82(15)
Employment
83(2)
The Risk of Losing Health Insurance
85(2)
Childcare
87(3)
Fathers' Involvement
90(2)
Transportation
92(2)
Racism and Sexism
94(1)
The Welfare System Breeds "Dependence" on the System
95(2)
Fatalism
97(9)
Bad Luck
97(2)
Poor Health
99(2)
The Termination of Relationships
101(2)
Violence
103(3)
Why the Inconsistency Between Explanations of Their Own and Others' Use of Welfare?
106(2)
Critical Thinking Questions
108(2)
5 Day-to-Day Living and Decision Making 110(23)
Daily Activities: Wild Living or Depressing Routine?
116(1)
Making Ends Meet with "The Check"
116(3)
Living and Surviving on Food Stamps
119(3)
Juggling Bills
122(2)
Coping with the Stress
124(3)
Affording Life's "Luxuries"
127(3)
Supplementing Welfare
130(1)
Critical Thinking Questions
131(2)
6 Living and Surviving Welfare: The Importance of
Family, Friends, and Formal Support
133(6)
Informal Support: Help from Families, Friends and Neighbors, and Children's Fathers
139(12)
Assistance from Families
139(4)
Assistance from Friends and Neighbors
143(4)
Assistance from Children's Fathers
147(4)
Formal Support: Help from Charities and Social Services
151(3)
Working Side Jobs: Is This Fraud?
154(4)
Critical Thinking Questions
158(1)
7 Insiders' Perspectives on the Welfare System 159(28)
Florida WAGES: A Case Example
163(2)
The Role of Government
165(3)
Opinions of the Welfare System
168(5)
Strengths of the Welfare System
168(2)
Weaknesses of the System
170(3)
Welfare Reforms
173(8)
Time Limits
174(3)
Work Requirements
177(3)
Family Caps
180(1)
Ideas for Reform
181(5)
Critical Thinking Questions
186(1)
8 Getting Off Welfare 187(28)
The Women in the Middle: Why Increasing Human Capital Is Not the Only Answer
193(7)
Education and Employment Training
194(3)
Work Experience
197(3)
The Importance of Our Social Structure
200(14)
Not Enough Jobs
201(1)
Types of Jobs Available for Women on Welfare
202(5)
The Value of Health Insurance
207(2)
Why Some Women on Welfare Are Hesitant to Take Jobs
209(5)
Critical Thinking Questions
214(1)
9 Conclusion: Lessons Learned and Visions of Change 215(15)
The Gendered Nature of Welfare and Welfare Reform
216(6)
Has Welfare Reform Been a Success or a Failure?
222(3)
The Reasons for Its Failure
222(3)
Insights from Other Countries
225(4)
Critical Thinking Questions
229(1)
Appendix: Websites of Interest 230(5)
References 235(17)
Index 252


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