Building an Opportunity Society
A Realistic Alternative to an Entitlement State
Twenty-first-century US policymakers face a great challenge: How can federal government help more people achieve the American dream? Specifically, how can we provide greater opportunities for less-prosperous individuals, enabling them to succeed through hard work, on their merits, and take increased responsibility for their lives?
Lewis D. Solomon sees this as the challenge of our time. He seeks to thread the fine public policy needle between social democratic efforts to perfect the world and those who negatively view public sector programs. Based on the premise that capitalism is not inherently unjust and defective, and American capitalism's structural features do not inexorability thwart opportunity, Building an Opportunity Society offers the possibility of more limited, carefully structured, cost-effective, empirically verified federal policies and programs.
Solomon first provides the background and context of many existing domestic challenges and problems that the current and proposed federal policies and programs seek to address. He then analyses the federal safety net that keeps Americans from poverty and helps reduce income inequality. Finally, he presents a lifecycle analysis of current federal policies and programs, preventive and remedial, designed as part of the Entitlement State, but if restructured could facilitate the building of an Opportunity Society. Solomon challenges policymakers to take a fresh look at how best to achieve society's goals for all citizens.
Table of Contents
I Socioeconomic and Cultural Background and Context
1 Economic Immobility and Income and Wealth Inequalities: Realities and Causal Factors
2 Poverty, Joblessness, and Male Disengagement from the Labor Force: Realities and Causal Factors
3 Family Structure Trends and Child Well-Being
II Transitioning to an Opportunity Society: Restructuring Three Pillars of the Entitlement State
4 Welfare Reform: Its Impact, Remedial Efforts, and Restructuring Alternatives
5 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Its Impact and Restructuring Alternatives
6 Social Security Disability Insurance Program and Restructuring Alternatives
III Transitioning to an Opportunity Society:A Lifecycle Approach
7 Federal Preventive and Remedial Policies and Programs to Encourage Healthy Marriages and Responsible Fatherhood
8 Federal Preventive and Remedial Policies and Programs: From Children's Birth through Pre-K
9 K 12 Education and Beyond: Preventive and Remedial Policies and Programs