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The Fiscalization of Social PolicyHow Taxpayers Trumped Children in the Fight Against Child Poverty$
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Joshua T. McCabe

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190841300

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190841300.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 26 January 2022

American Exceptionalism Revisited

American Exceptionalism Revisited

(p.1) 1 American Exceptionalism Revisited
The Fiscalization of Social Policy

Joshua T. McCabe

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 challenges the conventional wisdom on American exceptionalism in regard to tax and social policy. After setting up the puzzle and outlining why previous theories cannot explain them, it lays out the book’s main arguments in detail. First, it outlines the book’s theory of fiscalization as an obfuscation strategy. Second, it outlines a new theory of the cultural legacies of public policies. It is not, as most scholars argue, the legacy of the Poor Law that explains America’s exceptional tax credits but rather the absence of a legacy of family allowances. It argues that “logics of appropriateness,” institutionalized in policy legacies, can limit the ability of future policymakers to extend benefits to seemingly deserving target populations. The legitimacy of a policy depends not only on who is receiving it and whether it is effective but also on how they are receiving it.

Keywords:   fiscalization, obfuscation, logic of appropriateness, child poverty, policy legacy

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