Public Policy – People Assignment
This chapter of your textbook goes a lot of different directions, but seems centered around the assertion that Texas’ culture of low taxes and low spending creates or worsens poverty.
There’s another side to the story, though. Even the San Francisco Chronicle, which is pretty liberal, notes in this article that Texas fares much better in the statistics when you account for its low cost of living.
The idea seems to be that with a strong economy and lots of job opportunity, a state doesn’t need to spend as much on social services and public assistance.
On the other hand, every state has citizens who are not capable of surviving without assistance. State government provides much of this through the SNAP program (http://yourtexasbenefits.hhsc.texas.gov/programs/snap/) (formerly food stamps) and TANF (welfare http://yourtexasbenefits.hhsc.texas.gov/programs/tanf/). Advocates feel strongly that Texas should spend more on social services. Texas’ social safety net is also feeling the pinch from federal budget cuts, as explained in this Dallas Morning News article (http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20130722-dallas-area-social-service-agencies-feeling-squeeze-from-automatic-cuts.ece).
Write a 2 – 5 page essay about the level of social services provided in Texas. Explain the TANF and SNAP programs. Discuss the tradeoff between the higher taxes that would be required to fund more generous social services programs and the economic benefits realized by low-income Texans as a result of the strong low-tax economy.
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