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NONFICTION

AMERICA’S MISUNDERSTOOD WELFARE STATE by Theodore R. Marmor, Jerry L. Mashaw and Philip L. Harvey (Basic Books: $22.95; 268 pp.). Only a few scattered voices were raised in the ‘80s in defense of welfare, most likely because liberals felt cowed by the deluge of critical studies that flowed from conservative think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute after their funding increased tenfold in the ‘70s. Thus the mere publication of affirmative books such as this one is notable, but this work is particularly interesting because it preaches to the unconverted, acknowledging program weaknesses (we spend over 11% of our GNP to provide incomplete health-care coverage, for instance, while Japan provides universal coverage with only 6% of its GNP), but offering many persuasive statistics in welfare’s defense.


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