Your task, quite simply, is to design a welfare system for America.

Your task, quite simply, is to design a welfare system for America. It should be quite detailed. The candidates are interested in such possible topics as local vs. national responsibilities; the extent of coverage; universal vs. categorical aid packages; benefit levels vs. costs; possible distinctions between deserving vs. undeserving poor; the relative balance among insurance, means-tested, and in-kind programs; the usefulness of family allowances or minimum income guarantees; the role of social services; the value of work incentives and requirements; the importance of the family and the role of women; the relative emphasis on making individuals self-supporting vs. assisting them in times of need, etc. Importantly, this is not to be just a list of desired items. A reasonably coherent philosophy of welfare reform must underlie your choice. — Your proposed reform package begins with an inherent choice in favor of a specific theoretical conception – the appropriate principles for the U.S. welfare state – and against others.

In order to construct a better welfare state, you need to specify what principles underlie your conception of “better.” What alternative principles might others espouse? Why do you reject these alternative principles? What defense do you give for your theoretical approach? — Your proposed welfare program also will embody assumptions regarding the reasons for poverty, the characteristics of the poor, the nature of American society, and the proper role for government assistance. Make sure that your paper is grounded in the relevant data. In order for you to address the problem of poverty, you need to specify exactly what ‘the problem’ is. — You need to understand whether the U.S. currently is on the right road or the wrong road, based on your understanding of the problem and the principles you wish to achieve. — Then you are to offer your proposed welfare program. It is necessary that you make explicit the connections between your principles, your problem, and your recommendations. You need to be comprehensive and consistent. Explicitly how do the 1 particular policies you advocate satisfy your objectives? Why are other possible programs insufficient to solve the problem and achieve your ideals? Why is this the very best imaginable program given your aims? — Finally, your recommendations are to be practical. What is the right balance between ideal proposals and achievable ones? What complications might your proposal encounter? How might you deal with the feasibility problem, if one exists?

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