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Social Policy Review 24Analysis and debate in social policy, 2012$
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Majella Kilkey and Gaby Ramia

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781447304470

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447304470.001.0001

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The Great Recession and US social policy: from expansion to austerity

The Great Recession and US social policy: from expansion to austerity

(p.277) Thirteen The Great Recession and US social policy: from expansion to austerity
Social Policy Review 24

Daniel Béland

Alex Waddan

Policy Press

In many OECD countries, the Great Recession had major social policy consequences. This chapter discusses the post-2007 economic crisis in the United States before analysing some of the most prominent policy changes enacted in its aftermath. The paper stresses the return of fiscal austerity related to the increase in the size of federal and state deficits as well as the ideological domination of the right, which began pushing for spending cuts even before the end of the Great Recession. The conclusion of the paper summarizes the key changes enacted before speculating about the future of the U.S. welfare state in a context of fiscal austerity. As argued, the rise in federal deficits and the conservative ideological ascendancy converge to legitimize potential benefit cuts while making it harder for the federal and state governments to launch new measures aimed at adapting social programs to more effectively fight poverty and economic insecurity.

Keywords:   United States, Economic crisis, Social policy, Welfare state, Austerity

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