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Welfare for the Wealthy
Parties, Social Spending, and Inequality in the United States

$24.00 USD

  • Date Published: September 2015
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781316355459

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About the Authors
  • How does political party control determine changes to social policy, and by extension, influence inequality in America? Conventional theories show that Democratic control of the federal government produces more social expenditures and less inequality. Welfare for the Wealthy re-examines this relationship by evaluating how political party power results in changes to both public social spending and subsidies for private welfare - and how a trade-off between the two, in turn, affects income inequality. Christopher Faricy finds that both Democrats and Republicans have increased social spending over the last forty-two years. And while both political parties increase federal social spending, Democrats and Republicans differ in how they spend federal money, which socioeconomic groups benefit, and the resulting consequences for income inequality.

    • Uses a new data set of federal expenditures to examine the relationship between political parties and subsidies for private social welfare
    • Theorizes and shows that Republican party control of the federal government produces higher levels of social tax subsidies for private welfare in both the short and long term
    • Theorizes and presents how increases to social tax expenditures and decreases in discretionary public spending correlate with increases to the level of income inequality
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Christopher Faricy provides a critically important and typically overlooked perspective on America's welfare state. By bringing tax expenditures, as well as direct government spending into the discussion, he shows that redistributive social policies are embraced by both political parties - using different policy tools and benefiting different constituencies. The powerful arguments and careful analyses in Welfare for the Wealthy enrich our understanding of both partisan politics and social welfare in the United States.' Martin Gilens, Princeton University, New Jersey

    'This eye-opening book deserves a wide audience among all who want America to do a better job of limiting and reversing growing economic inequalities. Contrary to the notion that US government taxes the rich to help the poor, Faricy shows that wealthy groups and high-income workers often reap the greatest benefits from public policies, especially from hidden tax breaks and subsidies.' Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, Harvard University, Massachusetts and Director of the Scholars Strategy Network

    'The connections between party politics and social policy in the United States are often noted but seldom analyzed as systematically as they are in this book. Faricy shows that Democrats and Republicans disagree less over the size of the welfare state than over the beneficiaries. While Democrats favor direct spending to help the more vulnerable members of society, Republicans favor tax expenditures for the affluent. What seem like minor squabbles over policy tools thus have major implications for inequality. Previous case studies have suggested these patterns, but Faricy's statistical analysis of many programs over four decades provides a much-needed map of the entire terrain. Strongly recommended.' Christopher Howard, College of William and Mary, Virginia

    'For Faricy, the real question is not some fanciful speculation about whether you can tolerate a welfare state that hampers your freedom, but rather a matter of which of these two welfare states you want: the one that spends public money to increase economic inequality, or the one that spends public money to reduce it.' The New York Times (

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2015
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781316355459
    • contains: 18 b/w illus. 22 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. The politics of social policy in America
    2. The partisan politics of the divided US social welfare state
    3. Political parties and public social spending: testing the conventional wisdom
    4. Government subsidies and the private American social system: the special case of tax expenditures
    5. A Republican welfare state?
    6. The modality of social spending and income inequality in America
    7. The implications of the divided American welfare state.

  • Author

    Christopher G. Faricy, Syracuse University, New York
    Christopher Faricy is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, New York. His research has won a number of national awards including the American Political Science Association's 2012 Harold D. Lasswell Award and the Midwestern Political Science Association's 2010 Pi Sigma Alpha Award. His research has appeared in various journals including the Journal of Politics and Political Behavior and has been financed by the Russell Sage Foundation. His research has also been written about in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and Mother Jones.

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