Study Questions (with Answers)


What are subsidies and entitlements?

A Subsidy is a form of financial aid given by the government to individuals or groups to encourage or improve businesses so they can be more competitive. Example: the government gives millions of dollars to oil companies. Entitlements are programs whose eligibility requirements are written into law. Anyone that meets those requirements is entitled to the money, which the government must spend. For example: social security, Military pensions, etc.

Identify the basic social insurance and social regulation policies that the federal government has established and describe the difficulties and criticism they now face.

The government has set up a system of social security and it insures that one generation is helping the other. Through payroll taxes and other resources the social security fund is filled. This money is given in one thousand dollar incriments to anyone who is entitled to it despite financial aid needs. This structure is criticized because everyone pays the same amount of taxes and this is difficult for some of the poor families to pay. Some dificulties that this program faces is that there are less workers being employed which means there will be less money in the fund in the future. Some think that the whole system will crash by 2042.

What is the proper role for government in social issues such as education, welfare, and crime? The proper role for the government in social issue is based on your political belifes but the intended role is for the govenment to help it's citizens whether its money for old age citizens, money for the less fortunant, or people who cant afford their medicine.



What were the goals that Congress had in mind when it created and funded the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program?


TANF was designed to be a safety net for families going through a hard time. When a family didn't have enough money, the government would provide them with enough money to get through the month or whatever time until they could get back on their feet again. unfortunately, families began to depend on this as their sole income, which is not enough to support someone for an extended period of time.

Discuss recommendations to deal with the rising costs of Social Security and Medicare as well as the Welfare Reform Act of 1996.


Compare and contrast entitlement and means-tested social welfare programs in the United States Which one is more costly? Popular? Why?

How are income and wealth distributed in the United States? What are the characteristics of the poor, and how is poverty defined?
In the United States, wealth is distributed unevenly. The top 1% has 34% of the total personal wealth (as of 2001). 'Poverty' is a government defined status, meaning being below the standad of living, the number meant to represent the necessary yearly income to survive. There are several different official measures, the oldest dating back to the Johnson Administration. 'Relative poverty' means having significantly less access to wealth than other members of society. America has the 16th best poverty rates (meaning all countries below them have less poverty), Americans have a very high probability of living below the mean income level, compared to other developed nations.

How does the Social Security system operate? What are its sources of revenue? What demographic trends threaten its future?
Social Security is an Entitlement program whereby anyone over the age of 65 who has gotten the necessary credits can apply and receive $1000 a month from the federal government. Additionally, widows and dependents can receive some benefits too from the program. The sources of revenue are from income tax and government bonds. More and more Baby Boomers are aging, and soon most of the US population will be over the age of 65. There will be more people on Social Security than supporting it with income tax, threatening the program.


Describe the principal social welfare programs sponsored by the American government. What is the difference between entitlements and means-tested programs, and which are better funded? Is the government spending too much, too little, or about the right amount on social welfare programs? Explain.

Describe the major features of the welfare reform bill signed by President Clinton in 1996. What issues relating to the scope of government did the welfare bill raise? How democratic was it?

What is the place of social welfare in a democracy? What competing demands on democratic government does social welfare policy create, what groups are involved in the process, and how do these groups interact? What effect does social welfare policy have on the scope of government?

Has U.S. welfare policy been based on the notion of a deserving poor or on that of fair shares of the national income? What have been the consequences of this choice?

Briefly list the major provisions of the Social Security Act of 1935 and the Medicare Act of 1965.
Social Security was designed to provide income for
  • the elderly
  • needy, foster families, disabled
  • unemployed
The money for this would be taken via an income tax, taken by employers and provided to the government.
Medicare provided medical insurance to the elderly covered by the Social Security Act.

Discuss the politics of getting each of these two major welfare programs enacted.

Discuss three ways of coping with the problem that there may not be enough people paying Social Security taxes in the future to provide benefits for every retired person.

What is the key problem with Medicare and what complications arise from the fact that individuals on the program can receive treatment whenever they feel the need to and the physician or hospital is paid a fee for each visit?

Discuss two possible cures for saving Medicare.

One possible cure is to raise the age limit for Medicare from 65 years old to a higher age this will reduce costs by having less people eligible for Medicare and probably have less people alive to receive it. Another way to save Medicare is to have price controls for some of these doctors to not only make doctor vists cheaper but also create more affordable medication available to more people.

Discuss three factors that shape social welfare policy in the United States, and therefore, make it different from what exists in many other nations.

Discuss why abolishing AFDC turned out to be so easy, while nobody talks at all about cutting back on, much less abolishing, Medicaid.


Design a welfare program acceptable to both liberals and conservatives. Be sure to consider the different types of politics, majoritarian or client, involved.


Compare and contrast entitlement and means-tested social welfare programs in the United States Which one is more costly? Popular? Why?
Entitlement programs are programs in which anyone that meets the requirements of that program can collect the reward. Means-tested social welfare programs are ones in which money is given to people whose income is below a certain bracket. Entitlement programs are more costly and popular, because mostly anyone can collect from them, and also they tend to be much easier to collect on.

How are income and wealth distributed in the United States? What are the characteristics of the poor, and how is poverty defined?
The wealth in America is distributed so that the rich and middle class are well off. By gicing tax breaks to the wealth the government wants to see a trickle down system by giving the rich people money to spend and put into the society so the lower and middle class get the money by it "trickling down"

Describe the principal social welfare programs sponsored by the American government. What is the difference between entitlements and means-tested programs, and which are better funded? Is the government spending too much, too little, or about the right amount on social welfare programs? Explain.

Describe the major features of the welfare reform bill signed by President Clinton in 1996. What issues relating to the scope of government did the welfare bill raise? How democratic was it?
a requirment for single mothers with a child over five years of age to work within 2 years of recieving benefits, a provision that unmarried mothers under the age of 18 were required to live with an adult and attend school in order to recieve wekfare benefits, cutting off cash welfare benefits and food stamps for convicted drug felons, etc.

What is the place of social welfare in a democracy? What competing demands on democratic government does social welfare policy create, what groups are involved in the process, and how do these groups interact? What effect does social welfare policy have on the scope of government?













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