Conservative Resurgence and Social Change: 1968-1992

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Richard Nixon gives his trademark “victory” sign while in Philadelphia during his successful campaign to become President of the United States. This image is in the public domain.

NIXON ELECTION 1968

MIDDLE CLASS DISCONTENT OVER PUBLIC PROGRAMS AND NO CHANGE—GO BACK TO VALUES OF HARD WORK AND INDIVIDUAL SELF-RELIANCE
WELFARE RIGHTS DEMONSTRATIONS STARTING IN 1966-

National Welfare Rights Organization

  • Adequate guaranteed annual income
  • Curtailed investigatory practices, violations of privacy and midnight raids
  • The right to earn additional income without reduction in assistance payments until an adequate minimum was reached
  • More respect for recipients legal rights, improved day care for children ow working mothers
  • Higher clothing and furniture allowances, more adequate medical care and eliminating all residency requirements.
  • Social Welfare:
    • OSHA- gave more federal oversight to health standards in industry and toxic chemicals
    • Block grants to localities for various social programs- low income house and job training
    • Increased benefits to SS, and expanded and improved Food Stamps so that I no longer required cash payments- mandatory for all states, est. national eligibility guidelines
    • *SSA- combined all three of categorical assistance provision (old age assistance/aid to the blind/ permanently and totally disabled) into one—turned into SSI—federalized all public assistance for the adult poor who were unemployable- created the 1st guaranteed annual income program. ENTITLED
  1. Assisted the “deserving” poor- made SS increase with inflation which guaranteed increase
  2. Rehabilitation Act of 1973- physically disabled persons protection from discrimination
  3. Earned Income Tax Credit (negative tax income)
  4. Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA)
  5. Welfare spending nearly doubled in Nixon’s administration- until his resignation in 1974

FORD: conservative

Cut welfare program spending and any new legislation- focus on growing inflation and ailing economy.  Unemployment rose to 9% in 1975- and increase in those living below the poverty line rose to 11.5% most dramatic increase in 1 year since 1959, 2.5 million dropped below the poverty line and continued to rise.  The aging the only group that didn’t increase  in poverty.


CARTER- democrat- considered the “most conservative Democrat since Grover Cleveland”.

  • Cut the budget of many social programs in an effort tot fight inflation and to provide resources to increased military spending
  • Considered to be weak and ineffectual- had two major legislative reforms to deal with welfare (welfare reform legislation and national health care program) but both were shut down in congress.
  • DID do:
    1. Created Department of Energy and Dept. of Education
    2. Turned HEW into DHHS
    3. Appointed unprecedented number of women and minorities to judgeships and government positions
    4. Fostered national youth employment bill
    5. Rescued children from long term stays in foster homes (CW)
    6. Expanded Medicaid, enhanced the rights of the disabled
  • At end of his term unemployment up to 7.8% and inflation at 10.9%
  • Global /International level:
  • Iranian hostage crisis- 52 Americans held for over a year
  • Soviet unions invasion of Afghanistan

REGAN- trickle down economics/ strong conservatism/ anti big government

  • increased defense budget
  • significantly reduced taxes
  • terminated some social programs entirely (public service programs- CETA)
    Slashed government spending by billions on other social programs such as AFDC, child care, school lunch and nutritional programs, food stamps, subsidized housing, energy assistance, family planning, public and mental health services, substance bause counseling, legal aid, job corps.  And continued reduction of social programs in following years (83/84)
  • Between 1980-83 those below the poverty line rose from 11.7 to 15.3 %.  Highest rate since the mid-1960’s—by 1983 12 million unemployed, record breaking federal deficit
  • MOVED INTO DEEP RECESSION BY 1983- THEN SIGNED INOT LAW A 9.6 BILLION RELIEF PACKAGE (4.6 B CREATION OF 300000-60000 PUBLIC SERVICE JOBS AND 5BILL TO GO TO 27 FINANCIALLY DISTRESSED STATES TO SUBSIDIZE EXTENTION OF UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION).
  • ECONOMIC RECORY SLOWLY OCCURRING – CONTINUED DROP IN INFLATION, INTEREST RATES FALLING, GNP GROWING.
  • SOCIALLY- RISING DIVORCE RATES, FEMINIZATION OF POVERTY- JOB  AND PAY DISCRIMINATION, RISE IN TEEN BIRTH RATE, CUTBACKS IN AFDC AND FFOD STAMPS.  2 OF 3 ADULTS WITH INCOMES BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL WERE WOMEN, AND FEMALE HEADED HOUSEHOLDS 5XS MORE LIKELY TO BE POVERTY STRICKEN
  • BELIEF THAT WELFARE PROGRAMS HARMFUL TO THE POOR AND EXACERBATED THE PROBLEM
  • CONTINUED CUTS ON DOMESTIC SPENDING
  • FOCUS ON FOREIGN POLICY
  • Comprehensive reform of SS in order to help the failing system.
  • workfare (WIN programs)- forcing mothers to work in order to continue on assistance.
  • Family Support Act 1988- start in 1990—-JOBS program (job opportunities and basic skills) required that single parents on welfare with children older then 3 required to get job or enroll in education o rjob training.  States had to meet quotas, and reduce money for those that refused to join.  Also guaranteed funding childcare and transportation assistance for one year and continued Medicaid for those that got off welfare.

BY THE TIME IT WAS IMPLEMENTED MANY STATES DID NOT START OR EXPAND EXISTING JOB PLACEMENT  AND TRAINING PROGRAMS, NOR PROVIDE AMPLE FUNDS FOR CC AND OTHER SUPPORT SERVICES

INTERNATIONAL LEVEL

  • Iran contra SCANDAL- SECRET ILLEGAL ATTEMPT BY MEMBERS OF ADMIN. TO SELL ARMS TO IRAN IN RETURN TO RELEASE HOSTAGES AND THEN FUNNEL MONEY TO NICARAGUA
  • FALL OF COMMUNISM (COLD WAR) AND TEARING DOWN OF THE WALL

GEORGE BUSH

  • LITTLE DOMESTIC POLICY ISSUES—REFUSED TO RAISE TAXES OR ADD NEW TAXES
    2.6 TRILLION DEBT INHERITED BY REAGAN, HUGE BUDGET DEFICITS- SAVINGS AND LOAN SCANDAL
  • BY 1990- 14.2 % OF POPULATION IN POVERTY
  • SOCIAL ISSUES- ALL TIME HIGH RATES OF HOMELESSNESS, CONTINUED INCREASE IN UNEMPLOYMENT, ETC. HIGHER INCREASE IN COST OF HEALTH INSURANCE
  • Good:
    • 1990- ADD
    • INCREASED MINIMUM WAGE FROM 335 TO 425- FIRST CHANGE SINCE 1981 (STILL LEAVING THE FULL TIME WORKER WITH FAMILY OF 4 %1400 BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL.)
  • AT HOME:
    • United way scandal- president  William Aramony found having misused funds/ money laundering/fraud
    • LA riots (53 dead more then 1 billion in damages) 4 police officers found not guilty of assault beating Rodney King

    INTERNATIONAL LEVEL

  • PERSIAN GULF WAR

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