Week 8: The Role of Government, Legal, and Political Systems Flashcards Preview

Urban Inequality > Week 8: The Role of Government, Legal, and Political Systems > Flashcards

Flashcards in Week 8: The Role of Government, Legal, and Political Systems Deck (14):

What is the role of governments?

- represent and protect the interests of different groups
- each group is ensure some influence


What is the role of governments?

- government represents the interest of a power elite (wealthy)
- decision-making is exercised by the elite behind the scenes


Voting rights

State practices:
- until mid-1960s: grandfather clause, literacy test, poll tax, white primary
- 1960s-1970s: limited hours for registration, harassment, identification requirement
- Florida, 2000 elections: blacks with no criminal records were not allowed to vote, were told they had voted by absentee ballot, required IDs, had ballots rejected


Public facilities

- state law and local ordinances required segregation of public (and sometimes private) facilities
- local governments did little or nothing to stop it until WW2
- sometimes, federal government encouraged segregation (Plessy vs. Ferguson)



- federal agencies encouraged redlining
- federal program provided tax subsidies for suburban housing
- states supported restrictive covenants
- local ordinances required housing segregation
- local zoning laws prohibit low-income housing
- local zoning laws are exclusionary (e.g., min. lot size)



- state laws require segregation
- local school board required segregation
- state ban on bilingual education
- local distribution of funds are unequal


Government Spending

- programs to provide jobs and assist the poor are low priority
- cuts in spending for low-income housing
- reduction of housing subsidies
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): most efficient in reducing poverty among working families


Welfare Reform (1996)

- increased funding for child care
- lifetime limit of 5 years
- requirement to accept work
- reduction of food stamps
- more people are working, but incomes have no changed
- people may have to accept low-paying jobs
- increase availability of workers, keep wages low


Wage and Labor Law

- federal government allowed minimum wage to stagnate
- federal government has weakened labor unions
- federal government allowed increasing share of corporate profit to high executive salaries


Public Transportation

- federal subsidies to highway construction and maintenance
- federal investment in public transportation very limited
- federal subsidies to public transportation have been reduced


Health care

- U.S. is the only industrialized country with no national health care system
- employers do not provide health insurance
- around 32% of Hispanics, 30% of Native Americans and 20% of African Americans had no insurance in 2009



Manipulation of electoral district boundaries


Criminal Justice System

Discrimination has been detected in all steps of the process:
1. Detection of crime
2. Decision by police to arrest a suspect
3. Setting and administration of bail for the accused person
4. Decision by police about whether to press charge and in which court
5. Decision about whether the accused is guilty or innocent
6. Sentencing, nature and severity of penalty


War on Drugs

- racially motivated: 70% of drug users are White, but 78% of people imprisoned for drug use are Black or Hispanic
- minimum sentencing for crack cocaine more sever than power cocaine