Demonstrate you understand the main arguments of the book.
Demonstrate you can relate the book material to contemporary issues affecting
residents in urban areas. To do this, I provide you with additional readings or
resources/documentaries to better understand the contemporary policy context.
Demonstrate you can take an educated position on these issues having learned what
you have in class.
You essay should be about 4-5 pages long. I have given you suggestions for how long each
part should be (ex: roughly 1 page). This assignment is not a book review. You are also not
required to include additional literature, but may do so if you find it supports your essay.
In this paper, students are asked to draw on Katznelson, reflect on American economic
conditions and welfare state and government programs aimed at alleviating financial
Katznelson discussed the Social Security Act of 1935 consisted of two types of
programs, one that stigmatized who received assistance but not the other. What were
these two types of programs developed with the New Deal? Explain how racial inequality
was structured in both types of programs. [Roughly ¾-1 page]
Consider how Katznelson’s distinction in the welfare state remains relevant today
and why this matters. In what ways has the welfare state changed or remained the same
from the New Deal era?
Is racial inequality still structured into both types of programs? If
not, explain why not. If so, explain how so. [Roughly 1.5-3 pages]
Additional Readings To Answer This:
In class, we learned that the government safety net was created to keep Americans from
abject poverty. Yet today the poorest households no longer receive a majority of
government benefits. The share of benefits flowing to the least affluent households, the
bottom fifth, has declined from 54 percent in 1979 to 36 percent in 2007. To help you
understand who then benefits from the government safety net, read the following:
New York Times article: Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It.
Make sure to study the graphs and tables linked to the article*
Also consider that the current Trump administration has taken a strong position to cut
safety net programs. To help you understand the cuts this administration proposes, read
Trump Wants to Limit Aid for Low-Income Americans. A Look At His Proposals
Take a position. Should certain safety net programs be cut and/or others expanded,
stay the same? Explain why. Consider the cost of these programs, possible restrictions or
eligibility when explaining your answer. [Roughly ¾ -1 page].
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