Automating Inequality

Automating Inequality

How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor

Virginia Eubanks

AFDC became so embattled that President Richard Nixon proposed a guaranteed annual income program, the Family Assistance Program (FAP), to replace it in 1969. The program would guarantee a minimum income of $ 1,600 a year for a family of four. It would provide benefits to two-parent families earning low wages, who were excluded from AFDC. It would do away with the 100 percent penalty on earned income, allowing welfare beneficiaries to retain the first $ 720 of their yearly earnings without reducing benefits. But the minimum income Nixon proposed would have still kept a family of four well below the poverty line. The NWRO proposed a competing Adequate Income Act that set the base income for a family of four at $ 5,500. Nixon’s program also included built-in work requirements; this was a sticking point for single mothers with small children. Unpopular with both conservatives and progressives, the FAP failed, and pressure on AFDC continued to mount.

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