Income Security Policies in the United States: The Inevitability and Consequences of Retrenchment

John L. Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the 1960s and early 1970s, strong economic growth and highly expansionary income security policies led to considerable progress for the entire American population with respect to major income security goals. However, in the last fifteen years much of this progress has been either arrested or reversed, particularly for the non-aged, as economic growth slowed and income security policies ceased to expand and, in some cases, contracted. This retrenchment was the inevitable consequence of numerous phenomena which preceded, and were reinforced by the Reagan era. American income security policies are not likely to contract generally in the future, nor to resume expanding in a direction characteristic of many Western European welfare states. Rather, the prospects are for slow economic growth, higher targetting of programs by income in some areas, and marginal expansions requiring minimal new commitments of public resources in others. Major income security problems, especially among the lower income population, will remain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Public Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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