Chapter 15 Study Guide

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Domestic Policy
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A category of public policy that is comprised of policy decisions on matters affecting individuals within a political system. The debate over domestic policy seeks to determine what government should do, who should gain the benefits of government action, and who should pay the costs.
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Social Welfare
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Governmental programs, such as social insurance and poverty programs, directed specifically toward promoting the well-being of individuals and families. Social insurance programs constitute the largest category of social welfare spending (almost 50% of all social welfare expenditures); medical programs, the second largest, public aid, the third largest.
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Social Entitlements
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Programs such as Social Security, Medicaid, and Unemployment Compensation whereby eligible individuals receive benefits according to law. Social insurance and public aid comprise social entitlements.
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Social Darwinism (late 19th century)
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A set of ideas applying Charles Darwin’s theory of biological evolution to society and holding that social relationships occur within a struggle for survival in which only the fittest survive. The theory (‘survival of the fittest’) provided intellectual justification limited government and the unfettered growth and expansion of industry/big business. It argued that government should not act on behalf of those too weak to survive on their own and that government should limit itself to protecting the rights of individuals to pursue their own ends. In short, allow natural forces to cull out the weak, thereby improving society as a whole or so the theory holds.
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Progressive Era
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An urban reform movement of the late 19th and 20th centuries that called for direct primaries, restriction on corporations, and improved public services during a time of rapid social and economic change. Influential in the administrations of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Precipitated by the large influx of people in urban areas that outstripped local government’s ability to provide essential services, which, in turn bred a variety of social problems, i.e., poverty, inadequate housing, etc. This was also the era of the \”robber barons,\” rise in trusts and corporations engage in gross overreaching at the expense of employees and society.
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New Deal
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The first two terms of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945), whose revolutionary policy initiatives established a pervasive and active role for national government in direct response to the \”Great Depression.\” Under FDR, the national government for the first time assumed an active/extensive social/economic role. The New Deal firmly established the national government as the most important participant in ensuring the social/ economic welfare of individuals, particularly the old, disabled, and unemployed.
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Great Society
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President Lyndon Johnson’s term for an egalitarian society that aggressive governmental action to help the poor and disadvantaged would create in the 1960s. Among the programs that became law: Civil Rights Act 1964, Voting Rights Act 1965, Equal Opportunity Act, Food Stamp Act 1964, Elementary and Secondary Education Act 1964, Social Security Act amended 1965 – Medicare/Medicaid. The Great Society was the last major period in which the national government embarked on new social welfare initiatives (this statement is in dire need of updating in our text, given President Obama’s current domestic policy initiatives).
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Social Insurance Programs
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Welfare programs that provide cash or services to the aged, the disabled, and the unemployed, regardless of income level. Those programs include: Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment Compensation. Between social insurance programs and means-tested programs, social insurance programs tend to be the larger of the two program types in terms of beneficiaries and the amount of money spent.
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Social Security Act of 1935
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Landmark legislation enacted in 1935 that firmly established for the first time a social welfare role for the national government by providing old age insurance, unemployment compensation, and grants to the states to provide cash assistance to dependent children and to the blind, disabled and aged. \”Social Security\” is really a bundle of separate programs rather than a single program.
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Incrementalism
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A model of decision making that holds that new policies differ only marginally from existing policies.
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Medicare
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A public health insurance program in which government pays the providers of health care for medical services given to patients who are aged or disabled rather than providing cash payments to eligible recipients.
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Unemployment Compensation
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A social insurance policy that grants temporary financial assistance to the unemployed. It is not designed for the chronically unemployed but as a temporary measure for those who need financial assistance until they can resume employment. It provides for 26 weeks of unemployment and, where unemployment is particularly high in some states, an additional 13 weeks.
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Means-tested Programs
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Type of social welfare program in which government provides cash or in-kind benefits to individuals who qualify by having little or no income. Means-tested programs are intended for the poor and the poor only. Between means-tested programs and social insurance programs, social insurance programs tend to be the larger of the two program types in terms of beneficiaries and the amount of money spent.
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Relative Deprivation
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A definition of poverty that holds that individuals with less, regardless of their absolute income level, will feel poor or deprived relative to those who have more.
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Poverty Threshold
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Income level, different by family size, and annually adjusted for inflation, below which individuals are defined by government as being poor. In 2005, the average poverty threshold for a family of 4 was $19, 350. In the U.S., 12.6% of the population (37 million Americans) were below the poverty threshold.
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Working Poor
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Individuals who, despite being employed or seeking employment, are still defined as poor because their low earnings are not enough to put them above the poverty threshold.
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Underclass
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A proportion of the poor comprised of individuals isolated from the rest of society and for whom poverty is a continuing way of life.
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Curative Strategies
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Policy strategies designed to reach the fundamental causes of poverty and to enable individuals to get out of poverty and lead productive, self-sufficient lives. A \”hand-up.\”
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Alleviative Strategies
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Policy strategies designed to make poverty more bearable for individuals rather than designed to attack poverty by reaching its fundamental causes. Includes cash and noncash benefits and constitutes the national government’s principle strategy for dealing with poverty. A \”hand-out.\”
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Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
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Social welfare program, administered by state and national revenues, that provides cash assistance to needy children and an adult relative and, in participating states, an unemployed parent. The states themselves determine eligibility standards/payment levels within national government guidelines.
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Welfare Reform Act
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A 1995 law that fundamentally altered the AFDC welfare program by renaming it TANF and place work and training requirements, as well as time limits, on its use (a 2-yr consecutive time limit on benefits and a 5-yr lifetime limit.)
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Supplemental Security Income
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Social welfare program administered by the Social Security Administration whereby the national government guarantees a certain level of income for the needy, aged, blind, and disabled.
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Medicaid
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A means-tested medical care program providing in-kind medical benefits for the poor. It is jointly funded by state and federal monies and administered by the states consistent with federal guidelines.
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In-Kind Benefits
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Noncash benefits, such as medical care services, that needy receive from some social welfare programs.
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Food Stamp Program
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A means-tested program that provides the eligible needy with coupons that can be used only to purchase food. The federal government pays for the cost of the program, but shares the administrative costs of the program with the states.
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Environmental Protection Agency
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An independent agency that controls and abates air and water pollution and protects the environment from pollution by solid wastes, pesticides, radiation, and toxic substances. Its work is largely comprised of risk assessment and risk management. It receives its regulatory power from Congress.
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Risk Assessment
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The process of estimating the potentially dangerous consequences of damage that might caused by a particular practice, such as smoking, or by the use of a particular product, such as the impact of the burning of fossil fuels on global warming.
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Risk Management
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Process of making decisions that try to reduce or contain identified risks.

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