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Between 1965 and 1970, welfare caseloads more than doubled and costs t

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Between 1965 and 1970, welfare caseloads more than doubled and costs t  [#permalink]

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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 35, Date : 18-FEB-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


Between 1965 and 1970, welfare caseloads more than doubled and costs tripled. The Nixon administration was unable to secure a legislative majority for comprehensive welfare reform. Legislative welfare reform raised contentious issues of who is entitled to support, how much, and on what terms—precisely the types of issues that have defied political resolution throughout welfare‘s history.

As a mechanism of policy change, the Nixon administration turned to a common managerial tool—performance monitoring. Middle-level officials at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) crafted quality control—a system for monitoring the accuracy of state welfare payments—into an instrument for indirectly influencing states to become more restrictive in the provision of welfare. Quality control‘s manifest purpose was to achieve fiscal accountability.

Through this instrument HEW could monitor state welfare payments and withhold federal reimbursement from those that it deemed to be improper. However, quality control
also served a latent, political function, partly reflected in its design. It penalized states only for overpayments and payments made to ineligible individuals.

Quality control‘s effectiveness depended on the uncoordinated responses of street-level bureaucrats in hundreds of local welfare offices to new demands that administrative reform imposed at the workplace. For example, welfare workers translated administrative concern for procedural uniformity into demands that welfare applicants routinely produce scores of documents of dubious relevance to their eligibility.

Applicants who could not meet these procedural demands, whether reasonable or not, were denied welfare. Administrative reform traded errors of liberality for errors of
stringency. Behaviours directed toward the helping aspects of welfare policy were virtually displaced as workers responded to incentives to maximize measured attributes of performance, namely procedural uniformity and productivity. At the same time, worker discretion to make unreasonable procedural demands was virtually unchecked.

Quality control did not overtly breach the integrity of theoretical entitlement to welfare promised by statute and supported by legal precedent. Rather, it seemed designed to protect this promise. But in practice, quality control appears to have initiated a process of effective disentitlement. Its adverse effects were unmeasured and unobserved, leaving quality control‘s manifest legitimacy unimpaired. Government institutions and officials were thus insulated from the effects of their actions. In this sense, quality control ironically eroded the government accountability that it was ostensibly intended to guarantee. Furthermore, through quality control, federal authorities could indirectly influence state administrative practices without directly encroaching on areas of nominal state authority. Performance measurement backed by fiscal sanctions proved to be a relatively potent, if imperfectly cast, instrument for penetrating a decentralized bureaucracy.
1. All of the following are mentioned in the passage by the author as adverse effects of quality control EXCEPT:

A. undue emphasis on administrative paperwork and procedures.
B. arbitrary and inconsistent penalties for state welfare agencies.
C. a decrease in the number of people who were eligible for welfare benefits.
D. lack of accountability for certain systematic infringements ofthe welfare system.
E. initiation of a process of effective dis-entitlement


2. In paragraph 4, the phrase ―uncoordinated responses of street-level bureaucrats‖ is used in order to:

A. support the author‘s claim that unreasonable administrative procedures caused many applicants to be denied welfare benefits.
B. refute the theory that quality control was used to hold states to a higher standard of accountability in their fiscal administration.
C. prove that quality control policies were implemented to serve a political rather than a social agenda.
D. provide a potential reason for the ineffectiveness of performance monitoring on general welfare reform.
E. criticise bureaucrats for the state of affairs with regards to quality control


3. What does the author of the passage suggest about the use of common managerial tools to effect policy changes in the welfare system?

A. Procedural changes in welfare agencies should be established in ways that assure adherence to regulations for both workers and applicants.
B. Administrative reform methods like performance monitoring may cause welfare organizations to become overly restrictive in their policies.
C. State payments and federal reimbursement funding can be effectively monitored through changes in welfare administration at the national level.
D. Implementation of quality control methods helped to hold the federal government accountable for its actions.
E. Such tools have completely failed to effect policy changes in the past




Aristotle GMAT RC Definitive Guide Passage #66

Difficulty Level: 700

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Originally posted by pushpitkc on 18 Aug 2017, 11:03.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 26 Sep 2019, 23:48, edited 6 times in total.
Updated - Complete topic (690).
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Re: Between 1965 and 1970, welfare caseloads more than doubled and costs t  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2019, 12:03
1
Official Explanation


Topic and Scope

The effects of quality control on Nixon-era welfare programs

Mapping the Passage

Para 1 describes problems in welfare during the Nixon era: high caseloads, high cost, and the inability to pass welfare reform legislatively.
Para 2 describes performance monitoring, a way the Nixon administration tried to effect change without legislation.
Para 3 and 4 discuss the stated purpose of quality control and its actual effects.
Para 4 continues the discussion of quality control‘s consequences: bias and harassment in the welfare application process increased.
Para 5 describes the contradictory nature of quality control: it was intended to protect the right to welfare, but instead harmed it, and was supposed to instil accountability in government, but instead eroded accountability.


1. All of the following are mentioned in the passage by the author as adverse effects of quality control EXCEPT:

Explanation

A scattered detail question. Eliminate answer choices based on the passage or look for one that doesn‘t seem to fit. (C) does just this. While the author discusses decreases in the numbers of people who actually received welfare, there‘s no suggestion that the number of people eligible for welfare decreased. In fact, the author thinks that quality control was bad because people eligible for welfare weren‘t able to get it.

(A): Opposite. This is mentioned in Para 4, among other places; the author notes―demands that welfare applicants routinely produce scores of documents of dubious relevance.

(B): Opposite. The author states in the middle of Para 2 that quality control penalized for overpayments and payments made in error, but not for underpayments, delays, and denials. These penalties were therefore both arbitrary and inconsistent.

(C): The correct answer

(D): Opposite. This is a paraphrase of the author‘s point in the last paragraph that―government institutions and officials were thus insulated from the effects of their actions and that ―quality control ironically eroded the government accountability.

(E): Opposite. This is clearly mentioned in the last paragraph.


2. In paragraph 4, the phrase ―uncoordinated responses of street-level bureaucrats is used in order to:

Explanation

An evaluation question. Go back to Para 4 to review the phrase in context. The author argues that ―quality control‘s effectiveness‖ depended on the bureaucrats in―hundreds of local welfare offices,‖ and describes the poor results that came from that dependence. Why does the author mention the bureaucrats? Predict: to show why a national system of quality control turned out so poorly on the local level. (D) paraphrases this.

(A): Faulty Use of Detail. The author does make this claim, but not until the last sentence of the paragraph, and the mention of bureaucrats isn't designed to support this. Rather, this claim supports the argument that local bureaucrats caused problems, which in turn supports the point made in (D) that performance monitoring was ineffective.

(B): Out of Scope. The author never tries to refute this theory, but only to show in the first half of the paragraph why the push for fiscal responsibility had negative effects.

(C): Faulty Use of Detail. While the author states that quality control ―served a latent, political function,‖ but supports it in the discussion of what errors were and were not punished. The reactions of bureaucrats to new demands doesn‘t support this particular statement.

(D): The correct answer

(E): Incorrect, as described above.


3. What does the author of the passage suggest about the use of common managerial tools to effect policy changes in the welfare system?

Explanation

What common managerial tool is mentioned in the passage? Paraphrase: Quality control. What does the author think about quality control in the case of welfare reform? That it was too restrictive and kept people who were entitled to welfare from getting it. What would the author think about the use of ―common managerial tools to effect change in welfare? Predict: Probably the same thing; it‘s too restrictive. (B) rewards the careful reasoning with a nearly word-for-word paraphrase.

(A): Opposite. If anything, the author argues that over-adherence to regulations was the cause of the problem in the first place.

(B): The correct answer

(C): Opposite. The author uses to passage to cite quality control as an example of a case in which national welfare administration wasn’t effective at doing this.

(D): Out of Scope. The only accountability that the author mentions is the accountability at the state and local level; federal accountability is never discussed.

(E): Out of scope, as described above.


Hope it Helps
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Re: Between 1965 and 1970, welfare caseloads more than doubled and costs t  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Aug 2017, 20:37
Hi KS15 & ezzo,

Please find below the OE for the question 3

What common managerial tool is mentioned in the passage?
Paraphrase: Quality control. What does the author think about quality control
in the case of welfare reform? That it was too restrictive and kept people who
were entitled to welfare from getting it. What would the author think about
the use of ―common managerial tools‖ to effect change in welfare?

Predict: Probably the same thing; it‘s too restrictive.
(B) rewards the careful reasoning with a nearly word-for-word paraphrase.

(A): Opposite. If anything, the author argues that over-adherence to regulations
was the cause of the problem in the first place.
(B): The correct answer
(C): Opposite. The author uses to passage to cite quality control as an example of
a case in which national welfare administration wasn’t effective at doing this.
(D): Out of Scope. The only accountability that the author mentions is the
accountability at the state and local level; federal accountability is never
discussed.
(E): Out of scope, as described above.


Hope this helps!
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Re: Between 1965 and 1970, welfare caseloads more than doubled and costs t   [#permalink] 24 Aug 2017, 20:37
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