The Dependent City Revisited: The Political Economy of Urban Development and Social Policy

By Paul Kantor | Go to book overview

The Illinois case also shows that if federal programs were more generous and not dependent upon state and local contributions, there would have been fewer homeless people during the 1980s. There are generally few aged persons among the homeless population ( Devine and Wright, 1993:65). In 1985 fewer than 2 percent of the homeless living in Chicago were sixty-five or older. The major reason is that, unlike AFDC, Social Security is not dependent upon state or local contributions, but is funded entirely by the federal government. The payment benefits of this program increased by 168 percent between 1968 and 1985 as a result of benefit changes and indexing payments to the consumer price index. In Chicago the average income received by old people from this program was sufficient to rent accommodation in the conventional housing market ( Rossi, 1989:190-193).


The Governmentalization of Inequality

The U.S. welfare state was supposed to challenge inequality. Yet its successes have been diminished by the fact that major national programs to help cities and states have actually governmentalized it. National social welfare programs increasingly run up against the new reality of economic dependency that has biased state and local governments in favor of restrictiveness in social policy. The result is wide local and regional variation in the implementation of social programs and the obstruction of national goals. From the Old Federalism to the New Federalism, national efforts to counter local policy restrictiveness have been inadequate for the task or, most recently, have contributed to an intensification of urban social miseries. The welfare government leaves its needy citizens as prisoners of their dependent cities and beleaguered states.


Notes
1.
There is conflicting evidence over whether the poor migrate among states to obtain public assistance, although it seems likely that high welfare benefit states keep poor people from moving. See Steiner ( 1971:86-87), Patterson ( 1981:173-174), and Tilly ( 1968), who doubt the migration thesis. Contrasting views are found in Peterson and Rom ( 1990) and Clarke and Ferguson ( 1983:214-216). Nevertheless, that state and city public authorities act as though (and perceive) that welfare policies have a major effect on interstate migration of the poor is well documented in the literature noted throughout this chapter.

-211-

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The Dependent City Revisited: The Political Economy of Urban Development and Social Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents VII
  • Tables and Illustrations XI
  • Preface XIII
  • 1 - The Dependent City and Urban Politics 1
  • Notes 14
  • 2 - The Emergence of the Dependent City: Mercantile Democracy 17
  • Notes 39
  • 3 41
  • Notes 75
  • 4 - The Postindustrial Political Economy: The New Dependent City 77
  • Notes 111
  • 5 - Urban Entrepreneurship: The Mainstream of Community Development 113
  • Notes 139
  • 6 - The Politics of Decline and Conversion: Central Cities 141
  • 7 - Growth and Dependency: The Politics of Suburbia and the Sunbelt 161
  • Notes 190
  • 8 - The Governmentalization of Inequality 193
  • Notes 211
  • 9 - Can Dependent Cities Redistribute? 213
  • 10 - The Future of the Dependent City 231
  • References 247
  • About the Book and Author 267
  • Index 269
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