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What is the legislative branch's role in social welfare?
They initiate bill's that become laws. Some of which directly effect social welfare. Also they establish an annual federal budget.
What is the executive branch's role in social welfare policy?
Carry out laws and administer laws.
What is the judicial branch's role in social welfare policy?
They interpret the law and are the legal branch of our government.
What is a bill?
A proposed piece of legislation that has not yet been passed and made law.
Where is most of the work on a bill done in the legislature (whether fed. or state)?
The idea can be started in either the House or the Senate unless it generates revenue, in which it can only start in the House. Most of the time spent is in Committee. A bill can spend lots of time in both the Senate and the House
Who holds public hearings and testimony on a bill done in legislation (whether fed. or state)?
What must happen in order for a bill to be passed and sent to the executive branch (either the pres. or Gov.) for his/hers signature?
It must pass with a majority vote in both the House and the Senate otherwise it has to be renegotiated.
According to Fitch, what is the most effective advocacy method for influencing your undecided legislator?
Through personal stories or letters.
Fitch writes, "There are two types of constituents who interact with legislators: those with an interest and those with an opinion." What does he mean by "those with an interest"? And "those with an opinion"? Which does Fitch believe is most powerful?
A person with a personal experience or connection to an issue is more powerful then someone with just an opinion on the same issue. The personal story and connection is more persuading then the opinion.
What is the difference between discretionary and entitlement/mandatory spending, with regard to the fed. budget?
Mandatory spending is spending that the gov. has required itself by law to do for certain programs. 60% of our budget is mandatory spending.
Discretionary spending is funding in areas that must be renewed each year in order to continue operating. Makes up about 1/3 of all fed. spending.
Briefly explain why it is (typically) important to advocate for fed. budget-related issues prior to April 15th.
Because after the president puts in his budget request to Congress in February, Congress has to come up with a Congressional Budget resolution by April 15th so any changes that should be made to policies that are up for refunding need to be requested before that date.
What are the 2 largest areas of state spending?
Education and Health Care.
Be familiar with the difference between a marginal and an effective tax rate.
Marginal Tax Rates: the official tax rates for income above a certain level. This is what people are initially charged based on income.
Effective Tax Rates: the percentage of one's income that one actually gives to the govt. This number is determined after any credits are subtracted from the marginal rate.
Be familiar with the difference between a progressive, regressive, and proportional tax.
Progressive Tax: A tax that claims a larger percentage of the income of higher-income. People with more income pay more in taxes. People with less income pay less in taxes. This tax hits the rich the most.
Regressive Tax: A tax that claims a larger percentage of the income of lower-income households. This is opposite of Progressive. Social Security. Low income spends more on S.S. then those who make more money. This tax hits lower-income houses harder.
Proportional: A tax that imposes the same relative burden on all taxpayers. Example: Sales taxes hit everyone the same.
ALL TAXES FALL UNDER THE 3 TYPES OF TAXATION SYSTEMS
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC):
Describe the EITC in one sentence
The EITC is a federal refundable tax credit for low-income families.
What is the nation's largest cash program directed at people with low-incomes?
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
Be familiar with the difference between a refundable and a non-refundable tax credit.
Refundable Tax Credit: A credit that can be applied to taxes owed and also as a refund. Example: The EITC.
Non-refundable Tax credit: A credit that can be applied to owed taxes but cannot serve as a refund.
Describe minimum wage in one sentence.
The lowest hourly wage that employers may legally pay their workers.
The federal minimum wage was enacted as part of the New Deal.
Be prepared to explain the difference between a minimum wage set by a legislative body (e.g. the fed. min. wage) and a min wage being adjusted annually based on inflation (e.g. in Oregon and Washington). Consider personal and political impacts.
Federal min. wage is currently set at $7.25/hr and is not adjusted for inflation. This is seen as a baseline income for workers, in order to help them meet basic needs. Oregon at $8.95/hr and Washington at $9.19/hr's min. wage adjusts annually based on inflation.
The question of raising min. wage is not a political debate in Oregon and Washington because it changes. On the Fed. level it is constantly being debated among politicians.
What are social insurance programs?
Provide two examples of current social insurance programs.
Social insurance programs compel people to insure themselves through payroll or other taxes, in case of unemployment, disability, death, and/or retirement.
Two examples of social insurance programs are; Social security (OASDI) and unemployment insurance (UI).
What policy established OASDI and when?
OASDI was established in 1935 through the Social Security Act.
What are the three types of beneficiaries served by OASDI?
- OASID serves three types of people;
- Retired workers, disables people, and survivors of workers who have died.
Is OASID a state and/or federal program?
Be familiar with how long one needs to have worked and paid into the system to be eligible for benefits.
Be familiar with how long one's disability must be expected to last in order to receive disability benefits under OASID
To be eligible, most people need 40 credit hours (to have worked at least 10 years).
To qualify for disability insurance, one's disability must be expected to last at least one year or to result in death.
At what age can one begin receiving partial social security retirement benefits?
What has the traditional age for receiving full retirement benefits been?
What age is it gradually being raised to?
Reduced benefits can be received at 62.
Full benefits can be received at age 65.
It is gradually being raised to 67 yrs old for those born in 1960 and later.
What are a person's OASDI benefits based on?
Benefit amounts are based on the individual's history of contributions (length of work and pay). Benefit amounts are raised annually based on cost-of-living adjustments.
Briefly describe 2 major reasons for concern regarding the future viability of OASDI.
Demographics. Life expectancy is increasing and in 2030 the older adult population will be over 70 million leaving not enough money to cover the need.
The dependency ratio. In 2032, 2.1 workers per beneficiary will be present. Not enough workers for the amount of people needing Social Security.
What would happen to OASDI benefits if the Social Security Trust Fund is exhausted?
The trust funds are predicted to be exhausted by 2033. At that time, there will be sufficient tax revenue coming in to pay about 75% of benefits through 2086.
What policy established Unemployment Insurance (UI) and when?
UI was established through the Social Security Act in 1935.
Is UI a state or fed program?
Federal program but states have a large part in decision making regarding eligibility.
What are a person's UI benefits based on?
Monthly cash income, based on the individuals history of contributions (length of work and pay).
What is the typical length of unemployment benefits offered by states?
Be familiar with what is meant by "extended unemployment benefits" and when they are offered.
A maximum of 26 wks. of benefits in most states.
An extended benefits program providing an additional 13 weeks, activated when level of unemployment insurance claims in a state rises above an established threshold.
Describe Workers' Compensation in one sentence.
Is Workers' Compensation a state and/or fed. program?
A state level social insurance program for workers who become disabled or die as a result of industrial accidents or occupational illness.
It is a state ran program so specifics on eligibility and benefits vary state by state.
Be familiar with the difference between the poverty threshold and the poverty guidelines.
The poverty threshold is the official federal level of poverty.
This is a governmental statistic that decides at what point a person is considered 'poor'.
Be familiar with the structural challenges of the poverty threshold as it is currently determined.
- The threshold does not work today because households spend more on other things then in the past.
- In the past a family spend 1/3 of its budget on food. Today, a family spends 1/7 on food.
Be familiar with how we define "working poor" in the U.S.
Individuals who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force (working or looking for work), but whose incomes fell below the official poverty level.
What are public assistance programs?
Provide two examples of public assistance programs.
Designed to be temporary; take care of the immediate crisis.
TANF and SSI are public assistance programs.
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
Describe the TANF program in one sentence (who it serve and what it provides).
TANF is a public assistance program providing temporary cash assistance to families with children living in poverty.
Be familiar with what policy established this program and in what year.
Started in 1935 as Aid to Dependent Children under the Social security act during the New Deal.
Be familiar with what program proceeded TANF and what policy created it.
After Aid to Dependent Children was established in 1935 it changed to Aid to Families with Dependent Children from 1962-1996. In 1996 it changed to Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.
What major social welfare policy shift did the creation of TANF represent?
TANF was changed through the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act that ended federal entitlement to public assistance.
It also changed various funding methods and applied restrictions to federal funding.
Why do TANF benefits vary so much based on where you live?
TANF varies from state to state because each state has discretion to decide specifics on benefits.
What is the lifetime limit for an individual's use of federal TANF funds?
How long must most legal immigrants be in the U.S. before they are eligible for federal TANF funds?
Five years of living in the U.S. before they can receive benefits
In what year was Social Security changed to a federally administered program?
In 1972 it was changed from a state level program to a federal program.
Describe Social Security in one sentence (who it serves and what it provides)
A public assistance program providing cash assistance for people with a low income and few resources who are 65 or older, have a disability, or have a severe visual impairment.
Be familiar with the groups of people eligible for SSI.
People with a low income a few resources who are 65 or older, have a disability, or have a severe visual impairment.
Be familiar with how long one's disability must be expected to last in order to get SSI benefits?
12 months or fatal
Describe General Assistance in one sentence (who it serves and what it provides).
Cash assistance provided by the state for immediate help for low income residents who qualify.
Is General Assistance a state or fed program?