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The assigned topic for this paper, "U.S. social welfare policy," potentially encompasses virtually the whole range of domestic social policy, from education to health care, from labor policy to anti-poverty policy to tax policy. To make the project manageable, this paper focuses on the major transfer programs that provide cash grants, food assistance, and medical care for the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed, and the poor. Although any boundary between these and other programs is arbitrary, most Americans probably consider these to be the basic components of our social welfare policy.

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