Faricy book explores social welfare policies and inequality

Book studies the different spending tools favored by the major parties and their effects on socioeconomic groups.

Faricy,-ChrisChristopher Faricy’s new book builds on the premise that there are two social welfare states in America – a Republican welfare state that uses tax subsidies to benefit the wealthy and a Democratic one aimed at the working poor. The subject of Welfare for the Wealthy (published this week by Cambridge University Press) is how the two political parties differ in funding social welfare programs and how these differences alter the level of income inequality. Faricy explores why both political parties choose to fund welfare programs just using different spending tools, which subsidize opposing socioeconomic groups, and shift power from the public to private sector.

While Republicans augment social spending through the federal tax code, Faricy says, Democrats tend to go through traditional appropriation methods. These differences in implementation have major effects on national income inequality. Faricy uses federal tax expenditure data to demonstrate that Republicans’ method of financing benefits businesses and wealthier citizens. He establishes that increases in tax expenditures are paid for by cutting into discretionary public social spending which ultimately worsens income inequality. Faricy’s findings are significant for understanding who benefits from government assistance, which social service providers are federally subsidized, and, most importantly, income inequality in the United States.

Christopher Faricy is an associate professor of political science and public policy and senior research associate of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at the Maxwell School. In 2012, Faricy won the Harold. D. Lasswell Award from the American Political Science Association for the best dissertation in the field of public policy for his work examining the differences in public and private social welfare. He holds a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Faricy has also garnered national media attention for this book in Vox and Mother Jones. 11/02/15