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The Free-Market FamilyHow the Market Crushed the American Dream (and How It Can Be Restored)$
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Maxine Eichner

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190055479

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190055479.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

The Death of the Welfare State and the Rise of Free-Market Family Policy

The Death of the Welfare State and the Rise of Free-Market Family Policy

(p.176) 9 The Death of the Welfare State and the Rise of Free-Market Family Policy
The Free-Market Family

Maxine Eichner

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how, in the last decades of the twentieth century, the United States abandoned its view that insulating families from harm by market forces was a basic function of government. This shift began in the early 1970s. At that time, it had looked like the government would move further toward protecting families by enacting two proposed pieces of legislation: a guaranteed income plan for families with children and universal daycare. Both plans ultimately failed, however. Their failure was partly a product of happenstance, but two other forces were also at work. The first of these was the growing—but false—belief that government support for families weakened them, whereas markets made them strong. The second was the rising racist—and equally false—belief that the majority of government benefits were going to undeserving African Americans. These forces coalesced in the passage of welfare reform in 1996 and gave rise to the free-market family policy we have today.

Keywords:   welfare, welfare reform, TANF, guaranteed income, universal daycare, CCDA, welfare queen, Charles Murray

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