Critical Response Paper Assignment

This Critical Response Paper is intended to (1) develop an understanding of the basic concepts,
principles, social welfare policy; (2) examine and scrutinize data, decide what’s relevant and valid, and
draw conclusions from it; and (3) develop skills in identifying and distilling key ideas and expressing
them concisely.
You will write a critical response essay to the seminal article, “Everyone is still on Welfare” by Mimi
Abramovitz. This important work was last updated 21 years ago. So, for its 21-year anniversary you are
going to update it with current data that either challenges her thesis or supports it. I will get you started
with some references, but you will have to do some research on your own to support your argument.
About the Paper
Most people have erroneous ideas about who is “on welfare.” Four decades have passed since Social
Work published the original version of this article, which applied Titmuss’s framework of a three-tiered
social welfare system and showed that nearly “everyone is on welfare.” Based on new data and a more indepth analysis, this article re-examines who benefits from and who pays for social, fiscal, and corporate
welfare and concludes that all three welfare systems continue to serve and to favor the middle class,
wealthy households, and large corporations. Abramovitz insists that social workers can work to
transform the system from one that rewards power and privilege to one that ensures distributive justice
for all.
Requirements for paper:
Consider the following prompts and address each of them:
· State Abramovitz’s thesis, and explain her main argument (25pts)
· Show current data (that means numbers) and other supporting evidence that either challenges or
supports her argument. (25pts)
· Articulate a coherent response that addresses key points from the article and explains your
position. Make sure your response clearly supports or opposes her thesis and is backed with data
from legitimate and trustworthy sources (see syllabus or UBLearns). If you have a mixed response
(partially support, partially oppose) you must support that position with data as well. (25pts)
· Describe how this seminal article informed your understanding of social welfare and the welfare
system. (10pts)
· Explain why an understanding of social welfare is essential for social work and social workers
· Present an organized paper, correctly formatted, and free of grammatical and typographical
errors (5pts)
The Critical Response Paper must be at least 4-6 double-spaced, typed pages with 12pt fonts and 1 inch
margins (not including the title or reference page). The paper must be in APA format, no running heads
Available References (you will need to use additional readings and current data to highlight your points)
Abramovitz, M. (2001). Everyone is Still on Welfare: The Role of Redistribution in Social Policy. Social
Work, 46, 297-308.
USA Spending
Blau, J. (2007). The Dynamics of Social Welfare Policy, Oxford University Press. Ch 5. “Ideological
Perspectives and Conflicts by M. Abramovitz,” pp. 126-183.
Day, P. (2006). A New History of Social Welfare. Boston Allyn & Bacon, Ch 2. “The Institution of Social
Welfare,” pp. 29-58.
Tussing, D. (1974). “The Dual Welfare System,” Society 11(2) (Jan/Feb): 50-57.
Opposing Viewpoints
All these chapters and articles are available in the “Critical Response Paper” folder via the “Course
Readings” tab in UBLearns. But, you will need to use additional readings and current data to highlight
your points as well.
GRADING: Your grade on this assignment will be based on (a) evidence of understanding the reading
materials, (b) the thoroughness with which you address the prompts, (c) the treatment of all points,
(d) grammar, spelling, legibility, structure and formatting (no typos please). Also, please do not cite class
notes for this formal paper. Pay attention to the point breakdowns for each section of the paper.

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