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date: 16 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Focusing on social insurance (Social Security), health insurance, welfare, and housing, this chapter demonstrates that the 1940s and 1950s represented a period of consolidation of New Deal programs, further bifurcation between public and private, and incremental extensions of social benefits that often still left African Americans out. The American welfare state expanded significantly through the 1950s and 1960s, but it never crowded out private insurers and providers of benefits. The provision of the most substantive and reliable public and private benefits remained tightly tethered to regular employment. The 1960s reopened the possibilities for broad-based reform and indeed included a sweep of new programs. By the 1970s, some of the most explicit racial barriers had been eliminated, and African Americans and women had gained greater access to core programs of the American welfare state. At the same time, the ideological and programmatic split between social insurance and public assistance—the assumptions about the deserving and undeserving—had only deepened.

Keywords: Fair Deal, Social Security, private welfare state, labor and collective bargaining, Great Society, War on Poverty, health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, housing policy

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