identify and explain a contemporary issue or program
related to the contemporary social safety net (or lack thereof). For your final paper, you
will investigate the historical origins of this issue or program.
You may examine any issue that you choose, but it must be sufficiently focused. If your
issue is too broad, you’ll have a difficult time investigating its history in your final paper.
For instance, “homelessness” is too broad. Instead, consider the housing crisis in
expensive cities; the short supply of public housing; or homelessness related to drug
Narrowing your topic will likely require you to do some research. If you’re not sure
whether your focus works, feel free to send me an email to test it out.
Again, you can examine any issue you choose. But if you’re stuck, below are a few
broad themes to get you started. All of these themes require further narrowing:
The Criminalization of Poverty Public Housing Programs
Immigration & Poverty Civil Legal Aid
Labor rights Healthcare
Workplace health & safety protections Homelessness
Minimum wage laws Criminal Public Defense
Unemployment Workfare Programs
Basic Income/Full Employment Proposals The Earned Income Tax
Poverty and disability Poverty & Environmental
Food Stamps Hunger
Social Security Benefits Poverty & Addiction
For this assignment, you will need to cite at least four articles from reliable
newspapers or magazines, such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, The
National Review, The Atlantic, The American Prospect, The New Yorker, or your local
newspaper. Opinion pieces, information from social media, and articles from highly
partisan news outlets are not acceptable.