The American Democracy, 10th Edition (Patterson)

Chapter 16: Welfare and Education Policy: Providing for Personal Security and Need


effective tax rate  The actual percentage of a person’s income that is spent to pay taxes.
entitlement programs  Any of a number of individual-benefit programs, such as social security, that require government to provide a designated benefit to any person who meets the legally defined criteria for eligibility.
equality of opportunity  The idea that all individuals should be given an equal chance to succeed on their own.
in-kind benefit  A government benefit that is a cash equivalent, such as food stamps or rent vouchers. This form of benefit ensures that recipients will use public assistance in a specified way.
means test  The requirement that applicants for public assistance must demonstrate that they are poor in order to be eligible for the assistance.
negative government  The philosophical belief that government governs best by staying out of people’s lives, giving individuals as much freedom as possible to determine their own pursuits.
positive government  The philosophical belief that government intervention is necessary in order to enhance personal liberty and security when individuals are buffeted by economic and social forces beyond their control.
poverty line  As defined by the federal government, the annual cost of a thrifty food budget for an urban family of four, multiplied by three to allow also for the cost of housing, clothes, and other expenses. Families below the poverty line are considered poor and are eligible for certain forms of public assistance.
public assistance  A term that refers to social welfare programs funded through general tax revenues and available only to the financially needy. Eligibility for such a program is established by a means test.
social insurance  Social welfare programs based on the “insurance” concept, requiring that individuals pay into the program in order to be eligible to receive funds from it. An example is social security for retired people.
Patterson Tenth Edition Large Cover
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