PubPol 495 - 001

PubPol 495 - 001: Policy Seminar: Poverty & Social Welfare Programs in the U.S.

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Fall 2011
Credit Hours

This seminar examines trends in poverty and income inequality and social welfare programs and policies that affect the nonelderly poor in the U.S., emphasizing how the labor market and social welfare policies have evolved since the War on Poverty was declared in 1964 and how current programs and policies might be reformed to further reduce poverty. The course begins by addressing basic questions about the nature of poverty, how economic and demographic changes affect poverty, and the scope of current social welfare programs and poverty. Then, we review changes in social welfare programs and policies from the War on Poverty to the present. Particular attention will be given to understanding trends in poverty and inequality, the origins and consequences of a range of successful and unsuccessful social welfare policy reforms. We will evaluate the legacy of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 (welfare reform). Particular attention will be paid to the effects of the "Great Recession" of 2007-2009 and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (economic stimulus package) on the poor and unemployed. We will examine the labor market and social welfare policies of the Obama Administration, including employment and training programs, child support reforms, family policies, tax policies, and other social welfare policies.