The election of Barack Obama in the midst of the 2008 economic downturn brought hope to millions and presented an opportunity for expanding socio-economic rights. But the Obama administration was consistently constrained by the challenges of divided government, and the now threatened Affordable Care Act (‘Obamacare’) remains the stand-out welfare reform of his Presidency.
Using new research, Anne Daguerre examines Obama’s legacy on welfare and antipoverty policies, focusing in particular on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The book provides an up-to-date account of the contemporary politics of poverty and public entitlements in the US, comparing this with the Western European experience and its traditionally strong commitment to social welfare, to assess what lessons can be learned.
Introduction: Malaise in the American dream: Economy, Politics, Ideology;
Part 1: Setting the scene: welfare reform post 1996 and the Great Recession;
The American social contract at the crossroads;
The Obama administration vision: glass half full or half empty?;
Part 2: The paralysed presidency?;
Navigating the political backlash;
The politics of damage limitation;
Part 3: Assessing the Obama Presidency;
The Obama legacy;
"In this clearly written and well-researched book Anne Daguerre provides an insightful analysis of the successes and failures of the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce poverty and inequality in the United States. She convincingly argues that the administration was serious in its efforts, but was hindered both by its own limited vision and also the fierce, and often effective, opposition from Republicans to even incremental changes to existing programmes and policies." Dr Alex Waddan, University of Leicester