Caspar Weinberger and Welfare Reform


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  • Product Description

    This case examines the process of welfare reform policymaking initiated by Caspar Weinberger after his appointment as Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in November 1972. An admirer of Ronald Reagan's management of welfare programs in California and an opponent of Nixon's Family Assistance Plan, Weinberger, as expected, instituted tough new management controls over welfare programs to increase state capacities to manage them. Less than a year later, however, Weinberger also proposed to Nixon the most sweeping welfare reform proposal ever, advocated by a Cabinet officer. His Income Supplement Program proposal would have replaced AFDC, Food Stamps, and Supplemental Security Income with a federal program designed around a negative income tax and a state-administered work requirement. The case describes the process whereby Weinberger arrived at his decision to advocate radical reform of the welfare system, focusing particularly on the role of HEW analysts in structuring internal debate on the issue.

    Learning Objective:
    The case is designed to show how members of an analytic staff and the head of an agency work with each other in thinking through an issue and reaching policy conclusions. In particular, it demonstrates that analysts must be effective communicators if their work is to influence policy. The case also shows how an agency head can make effective use of planning and analytic staff.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: January 01, 1977
    HKS Case Number: 199.0
    Case Author: Cynthia Horan
    Faculty Lead: Laurence E. Lynn, Jr.
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 38
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    Funding Source: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
    _year: Older than 2000
    _pages: 25+
    _geography: US & Canada
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