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Professor Alstott's paper tells an important story about the current moment in American federalism as interpreted through the lens of the social welfare system. From its beginning in 1935, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) was the most important intellectual ingredient in the American commitment (or not) to poor families. AFDC was called an exercise in "cooperative federalism." States established and administered programs, receiving reimbursement for roughly fifty percent of their expenditures from the national government, which, however, imposed certain programmatic conditions.

Since the Republicans took control of Congress in the 1994 elections, Congress has emphasized two themes: cutting welfare eligibility (and especially reducing the time period over which benefits can be collected) and transferring authority from the national government to the states. But, as Professor Alstott nicely shows, the two goals sometimes conflict, as when there is support for a national rule that reduces benefits.


Labor and Employment Law | Law | Social Welfare Law