From the earliest poor laws to "the of welfare as we know it," the definitive examination of the question underlying all political debate in America: What does the government owe the individual?
In The Price of Citizenship, the culmination of twenty years of research and writing, historian Michael B. Katz traces the evolution of the welfare state from colonial relief programs to the war on poverty to our own age of "compassionate conservatism." He argues that in the last decades three great forces -- a ferocious assault on depence; the devolution of authority from the federal government to the states; and the application of market models to social policy -- have affected every element of the social contract and redefined both Republican and Democratic policy and rhetoric. Katz shows how these changes are propelling America toward a future of increased inequality and decreased security, while transforming citizenship from a right of birth to a privilege available only to the fully employed.
A magisterial overview, incisive and bold, The Price of Citizenship is sure to become a classic history of American welfare policy.