ERIC Number: ED316588
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1986-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Up from Dependency: A New National Public Assistance Strategy. Supplement 1: The National Public Assistance System. Volume 1: An Overview of the Current System.
Germanis, Peter; Bavier, Richard
This report provides an overview of the current welfare system. The number and size of federal public assistance programs have increased during the past 25 years, with particular growth in noncash benefit programs, which now constitute about three-quarters of all means-tested assistance. From mid-1983 to mid-1984, more than 52.5 million Americans benefited from federal assistance. The total funding for the 59 major programs reached $132 billion in fiscal year 1985. This effort reduced the poverty rate by 42 percent, from 12.8 to 7.4 percent. But the effect upon poverty by the welfare system was not achieved efficiently. Before any means-tested benefits were counted, it would have taken $51.6 billion to bring the general poverty rate down to zero. Weaknesses within the centralized welfare system that contribute significantly to the persistence of poverty in America are identified. On top of an order of self-reliance, family support, community charity, and state and local public assistance has grown a federal component of great size. The federal component has introduced disorder, a wide array of rules and purposes without overall coordination, and a general practice of making programs blind to the effects of other non-cash programs. As a result the United States spends more than it would take to eliminate poverty entirely, and yet a residual poverty gap of $19.1 billion remains. Data are illustrated on 23 tables and figures. Notes are included. An appendix documents public assistance spending from 1960 to 1985. (BJV)
Descriptors: Community Programs, Federal Legislation, Federal Programs, Federal State Relationship, Government Role, Policy Formation, Poverty, Poverty Programs, Program Evaluation, Program Improvement, Public Policy, State Programs, Welfare Services
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Office of Policy Development, Washington, DC.