The Law and Policy of America's Safety Net: Examined Through the Great Stress Test of COVID-19 (7105): America's social safety net--from health insurance to food support to housing assistance to unemployment insurance--was built over many years and embedded into America's system of federalism, a partnership between the federal and state governments, and America's deep-rooted commitment to a public-private model of shared risk and shared responsibility between the government and private employers. Our safety net is intended to provide a floor to prevent poverty and destitution, to support workers and their families when work is not available either due to the economy or to personal circumstances, and it is intended to also provide for basic human needs such as food, medicine and shelter. The COVID-19 induced recession with millions of lost jobs, lost wages and severe global economic disruption provided the greatest stress test to our modern safety net. This seminar will examine the structure, law and policies of America's social insurance system and safety net. We will examine these social programs through a combination of theoretical readings, court cases, practical policy proposals, and lessons learned from how the system worked or failed during the great stress test provided by COVID-19 and the ensuing recession. The course aims to spur critical thinking about the proper role of government in protecting against certain risks, as well as the appropriate target of the government's interventions. The course will also consider how the changing nature of work, family, technology and the private sector has played in disrupting the existing social safety net and what considerations should be taken into account to strengthen and build the next generation social safety net in America. Elements used in grading: Attendance, Class Participation, Written Assignments, Final Paper.
2020-2021 SpringSchedule No Longer Available