Congressional Democrats are working on a $3.5 trillion bill that would vastly expand the social safety net. But what exactly is this thing we call the social safety net?
“We’re talking about things like the earned income tax credit, child tax credits, a cash transfer program called TANF, or Temporary Assistance [for] Needy Families … but if you think about how long it might take you to get on your feet, it is a relatively meager and challenging system to subsist on.” said Tina Sacks, associate professor of social welfare at the University of California, Berkeley.
The idea that the government should help catch Americans if they fall on hard times started during the Great Depression, for obvious reasons. But Sacks says today that net doesn’t work as well as it should. There are a lot of gaps in the system, and at the end of the day our programs are pretty meager compared to those in other developed nations.
On the show today, Sacks walks us through the ins and outs of the social safety net. What it looks like in practice and whether the Democrats’ plan could make a real difference.
Later, we’ll talk about the next legal fight over reproductive rights, hear from a listener who makes us smart about toaster ovens and a callout for all your Duo voice memos!
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Here’s everything we talked about today:
- “From Cradle to Grave, Democrats Move to Expand Social Safety Net” from The New York Times
- “Pandemic Aid Programs Spur a Record Drop in Poverty” from The New York Times
- The Uncertain Hour’s podcast on the history of welfare reform
- “The Time Tax” from The Atlantic
- “Texas doctor who defied state’s near-total abortion ban is sued” from The Los Angeles Times
- Professor Caitlin Myers’ tweet thread on economists’ amicus brief against a Mississippi abortion law
- “A ‘Righteous Strike'” from The New York Times’ The Daily podcast
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