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By Michael B. Katz

"There are locations the place background feels beside the point, and America's internal towns are between them," recognizes Michael Katz, in expressing the tensions among activism and scholarship. yet this significant historian of city poverty realizes that the discomfort in those towns has its origins within the American prior. to appreciate modern poverty, he seems rather at an outdated perspective: simply because many nineteenth-century reformers traced severe poverty to drink, laziness, and other kinds of undesirable habit, they attempted to take advantage of public coverage and philanthropy to enhance the nature of negative humans, instead of to assault the structural motives in their distress. displaying how this misdiagnosis has cutting-edge welfare and academic platforms, Katz attracts on his personal reviews to introduce every one of 4 topics-the welfare kingdom, the "underclass" debate, city college reform, and the thoughts of survival utilized by the city bad. Uniquely trained through his own involvement, each one bankruptcy additionally illustrates the interpretive strength of background by way of concentrating on a strand of social coverage within the 19th and 20th centuries: social welfare from the poorhouse period during the New Deal, principles approximately city poverty from the not worthy negative to the "underclass," and the emergence of public schooling during the radical tuition reform move now at paintings in Chicago. Why have American governments proved not able to revamp a welfare approach that would fulfill a person? Why has public coverage proved not able to remove poverty and stop the deterioration of significant towns? What recommendations have helped bad humans live on the poverty endemic to city background? How did city colleges develop into unresponsive bureaucracies that fail to coach so much in their scholars? Are there clean, confident how one can take into consideration welfare, poverty, and public schooling? through the booklet Katz exhibits how interpretations of the previous, grounded in analytic background, can loose us of comforting myths and support us to reframe discussions of those nice public concerns.

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This chapter is, moreover, old-fashioned history because of its from-the-top-down story. It describes the formulation and implementation of policy for poor and otherwise needy people. 2 In chapter 4, I give some examples of how families survived extreme poverty earlier in this century. This chapter is also incomplete because it touches only marginally on the history of elementary and secondary education. However, education has constituted one of the key public benefits provided by governments since the nineteenth century.

The opportunity seemed too intriguing to pass up. Again, underestimating the job, I agreed. Within a couple of years, though, I had become depressed about the project. The literature seemed stale; authors repackaged the same ideas over and over again. I could produce my own version, but it hardly seemed worth the effort. One day, suddenly, I realized that the tired, repetitive quality of the literature itself signified the problem that needed a history. The question became how to identify and account for the core ideas running throughout two centuries of comment on poverty and welfare, how to explain the inability to move thinking out of worn and unproductive grooves.

Duncan, Years of Poverty, Years of Plenty: The Changing Fortunes of American Workers and Families (Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, 1984); June Axinn and Mark J. : Lexington Books, 1988), pp. 64, 83. 26 THE WELFARE STATE population. According to one expert, “by 1980 . . ”10 The poorest fifth of the population receive at least half their income from the federal government. They depend, now, as much on the government as on the labor market. Between 1965 and 1980, the share of the federal budget spent on income security, social services, and health, education, training, and employment increased from 27 to 53 percent.

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