Drawing the Line

Drawing the Line: Public and Private in America

ANDREW STARK
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 245
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7864/j.ctt6wpg5t
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  • Book Info
    Drawing the Line
    Book Description:

    InDrawing the Line, Andrew Stark takes a fresh and provocative look at how Americans debate the border between the public realm and the private. The seemingly eternal struggle to establish the proper division of societal responsibilities -to draw the line -has been joined yet again. Obama administration initiatives, particularly bank bailouts and health care reform, roil anew the debate of just what government should do for its citizens, what exactly is the public sphere, and what should be left to individual responsibility.

    Are these arguments specific to isolated policy issues, or do they reveal something bigger about politics and society? The author realizes that the shorthand, "public vs. private" dichotomy is overly simplistic. Something more subtle and complex is going on, Stark reveals, and he offers a deeper, more politically helpful way to view these conflicts.

    Stark interviewed hundreds of policymakers and advocates, and here he weaves those insights into his own counterintuitive view and innovative approach to explain how citizens at the grass-roots level divide policy debates between public and private responsibilities -specifically on education, land use and "public space," welfare, and health care. In doing so,Drawing the Lineprovides striking lessons for anyone trying to build new and effective policy coalitions on Main Street.

    "All of these debates... are typically portrayed as conflicts between one side championing the values of the public sphere... and the other those of the private realm.... [A] closer look shows that each side asserts and relies coequally on both sets of values... but applies them in inverse or opposing ways." -From the Introduction

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0460-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-6)

    State legislators sometimes say the most revealing things.

    In October 2007 I interviewed Missouri representative Cynthia Davis, a conservative Republican from Jefferson City and a member of her state legislature’s human services and welfare committee. My purpose was to sound out her views on Missouri’s version of workfare—the idea that while someone is receiving welfare payments, she should be required to work, whether at a community service position or a private sector job subsidized by the welfare check.

    Representative Davis, like most conservatives, is happy with workfare, which was introduced nationwide through the welfare reforms of 1996. She praises...

  5. SPACE

    • 1 AMERICA, THE GATED?
      (pp. 9-28)

      The Los Angeles suburb of Hidden Hills, a handful of Mediterranean- and ranch-style mansions scattered amid rolling, lightly wooded hills fifteen miles inland from Malibu, boasts one of the highest incomes per capita of any community in California. It is the kind of place where live-in gardeners and six-car garages are taken for granted and where bridle paths outnumber streets. The community is home to fabulously successful business executives and professionals as well as a curious collection of aging pop stars: Frankie Avalon, Neil Diamond, Tony Orlando, and John Davidson. It is also one of the nation’s oldest gated communities,...

    • 2 ARRESTING DEVELOPMENTS
      (pp. 29-42)

      For six hours every month during 1997, Lieutenant Rick Lewis of the Jacksonville, Florida, sheriff’s department moonlighted at the Jacksonville Golf and Country Club, a lush eighteen-hole course located in the heart of the city’s wealthiest gated community. As a moonlighter, Lewis did exactly the sort of things he did as a cop. For five dollars an hour, he donned his police uniform, got in his cruiser, and patrolled the clubhouse and grounds. Five dollars an hour might seem a little low for Lewis’s services, and, in fact, it barely covered the rental fee the sheriff charged him for use...

    • 3 SPACES, REAL AND VIRTUAL
      (pp. 43-54)

      To talk of public spaces in early twenty-first century America is to speak in terms both real—the real estate of plazas, courtyards, civic centers, museums, universities—and virtual—the Internet, and specifically blogs, YouTube, and Facebook-type sites open to the view of all. But the deepest dynamics in each domain, virtual or real, are moving in opposite directions. Virtual public spaces are encroaching on traditional private realms, lending ever-increasing publicity to aspects of life—the most mundane and the most intimate—that traditionally have remained private. Real public spaces, by contrast, are being encroached upon by the private realm,...

  6. EDUCATION

    • 4 WHAT’S WRONG WITH PRIVATE FUNDING FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS?
      (pp. 57-69)

      In 1998 Diane Mancus was principal of Houston’s Ser Niños Elementary School, located in a poor neighborhood a few miles from Rice School, a K-8 institution smack in the center of one of the city’s wealthiest enclaves. Mancus remembers the day in March when both schools staged fundraisers. Rice held an auction, at which one parent bid $20,000 for a reserved parking space in front of the school so that he could drop his child off at the last minute. Others bid large sums to enable their sons and daughters to spend a day with the principal or to go...

    • 5 WHAT’S WRONG WITH STATE AID TO PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS?
      (pp. 70-84)

      At the core of American debate over public support for private schools lies the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Although state aid programs are invariably directed to all private schools, parochial or not, in every jurisdiction where a controversy has arisen, parochial schools constitute the “vast majority of private schools.”¹ And although considerable debate surrounds nonconstitutional issues, ranging from the educational proficiency of parochial schools to their impact on the civic culture, the constitutional issues are central. Hence, I will focus on constitutional discourse over state aid to parochial...

    • 6 COMMERCIALISM IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
      (pp. 85-98)

      Los Angeles–based Tooned-In Menu Team, Inc., prints four million menus each month for school cafeterias around the country, each one laden with ads for products such as Pillsbury cookies or Pokemon. The deal is this: in exchange for getting their menus done up for free, participating schools provide Tooned-In with a ready market for its advertisers. It is just one of a proliferating number of arrangements forged each year between schools (or school boards) and companies. Consider McDonald’s All-American Reading Challenge, in which McDonald’s gives hamburger coupons to elementary school students in exchange for their reading a certain number...

  7. HEALTH CARE

    • 7 THIN THE SOUP OR SHORTEN THE LINE?
      (pp. 101-111)

      Barring a major revolution in the politics of health care in America, one question will continue to lie at the core of the ongoing debate over how to configure public health insurance for nonelderly Americans. It is a question that arises every time legislators consider budgets for their state’s Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The same question looms whenever a state that sponsors its own homegrown public insurance program has to wrestle with financing issues.

      In good budgetary times, the question takes this form: Is it better to use newly available dollars to expand eligibility for public insurance...

    • 8 TOURING THE BOUNDARY OF MEDICAL NECESSITY
      (pp. 112-126)

      Deborah Fuller was proud of her “long, brown ringlets” when she was a child. But as an adult she suffers from alopecia areata, an ailment that causes substantial, often total, hair loss from the scalp. Testifying before a state legislative committee in New Hampshire in 1992, Fuller asked whether she might remove her wig: “If it would not upset anyone,” she said, “I would like to demonstrate what it looks like to have alopecia.” The committee was considering whether the state should mandate—require—private health insurers to pay for wigs for such patients. The question in New Hampshire and...

    • 9 FOR RICHER AND FOR POORER, BUT NOT IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH
      (pp. 127-140)

      During the 2004 presidential campaign, a curious and revealing symmetry developed between Democratic and Republican approaches to the issue of private health insurance. John Kerry proposed that the federal government clamp a lid on premiums by relieving insurers of most of the expenses for catastrophic claims—those that exceed $30,000 to $50,000 annually for any given individual. Democrats, in other words, identified themselves with the idea that those who are richest—those who contribute proportionately more to the federal treasury through the progressive tax system—should heavily defray the medical expenses of those who are sickest. For their part, George...

  8. WELFARE

    • 10 MORAL ECONOMY IN AMERICA
      (pp. 143-154)

      “Leave those vain moralists, my friend,” Rousseau advised, “and return to the depth of your soul.” His great contemporary Edmund Burke lamented that “the age of chivalry is gone; that of . . . economists . . . has succeeded.” One can only imagine, then, what the two thinkers might have said about our age—the age when moral and economic thought combined to produce moral economy. From the former Republican House majority leader Dick Armey, who claimed that “poverty [is not] a material but a moral phenomenon,” to the liberal public intellectual E. J. Dionne Jr., who argues that...

    • 11 WORK AND WELFARE
      (pp. 155-176)

      Few domestic issues in America during the last twenty years have contributed more centrally than welfare policy to opening up political fault lines. I look here at four American contests over the boundaries of the welfare state: the controversies over workfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), income disregards for determining welfare eligibility, and the merits of in-kind aid such as food stamps. Together, this quartet of issues displays a certain symmetry in the realms of work and consumption. Workfare has to do with the work that welfare recipients might be required to do, while in-kind aid has to do...

    • 12 CHARITABLE CHOICE: THE HIDDEN CONSENSUS
      (pp. 177-190)

      American social policy finds itself engaged in two grand arenas of constitutional controversy over the separation of church and state. The first, in the realm of education (and discussed in chapter 5), surrounds school choice: programs through which the government funds busing, textbooks, field trips, remedial instruction, tuition vouchers, and more for parochial school children. The second, in the realm of welfare policy—and to be examined here—concerns charitable choice, programs through which government funds religious organizations to provide services such as child care, shelter for abused or neglected children, foster homes and adoption placement, teen counseling, homeless shelter,...

  9. 13 CONCLUSION
    (pp. 191-202)

    Over the course of decades, commentators have offered scores of master narratives to interpret American political conflict. None is more popular than the idea that, in one way or another, political controversy in America consists of an unfolding series of struggles between the values of the public and the private realms. Partisans of public sphere values such as redistribution according to need, civic equity, communal obligation or secular neutrality are locked in a continuing contest for policy dominance with champions of private realm values, which, depending on the debate, might embrace anything from self-reliance or property rights to a focus...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 203-234)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 235-245)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 246-247)