Widening gap between "haves" and "have-nots"

(Ref. 314)
Problem Components
Policy issue area: Economics
Policy issue: Spending
Description: Government policies are causing the development of a permanent underclass, and increase the risk of social fragmentation.
Symptoms: Since 1977 the average after-tax family income of the bottom half of population decreased, while the top 5% increased by 40%; persisting joblessness; shrinking opportunity; 32 million Americans living in poverty (including one out of every five children under the age of 6); increased homelessness and hunger.
Causes: Tax and spending policies, especially budget cuts in social programs; economic policies causing loss of jobs; lack of a comprehensive national policy on reducing poverty; decline of organized labor and other advocates of the less-affluent social groups.
Cost of problem: -
Solution Components
Resources: Universities and research institutes; business and industry; Federal and state government.
Goal: 1. Provide for the basic welfare of those in the low income brackets through a combination of employment and income maintenance programs
2. Develop programs of human resources and economic development for urban and rural poverty areas.
Program area: Financial resources development
Program-remedy: 1. Economic development, to improve manufacturing productivity and the restoration of international competitiveness
2. Major improvements to education system, to train the less educated segments of population for better jobs
3. Restore budget cuts in income maintenance programs (unemployment insurance, welfare, food stamps, child and maternal nutrition, housing aid and home heating assistance)
4. Restore budget cuts in health and social service programs.
Program-prevent: 1. National policies for a growing, vibrant economy
2. Implement programs in human resources development (compensatory and vocational education, Head Start, Job Corps, public service employment, work incentives, on-job training, etc.).
Cost of program: -
Beneficiaries: Less affluent members of society, including minorities and the unskilled.

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