SWOK 600: Social Welfare and Social Policy
Midterm Opportunity to Learn and Demonstrate Learning
Please respond to each question/prompt. For each, provide a point value of between 4 and 8 – with the sum of all equaling 100 points. This will allow you to weigh most the questions that seem to you most important – or with which you are most confident. (If you fail to do this, all will be weighed equally.) Your responses are due by Friday, March 20.
Reisch (2014/17) argues that social policy can be divided into three categories: social welfare policy, fiscal welfare policy, and occupational welfare policy. Briefly describe the three categories of social policy – providing an example of each. Explain how such a categorization can be seen as, in the words of Richard Timuss, “social division of welfare.”
Blau (2014/17) argues that there are five significant features of the contemporary U.S. economy that provide the context for social policy. Briefly describe each. Describe how at least one of these features of the U.S. economy (or one of the others discussed in class) shapes the policy milieu of your practice of social work and/or your clients’ lives.’
Blau (2014/17) articulates “Three Conservative Myths about Social Welfare and the Economy.” Discuss one – summarizing Blau’s argument for why it is a myth. If you disagree with Blau, say why you do and provide evidence for your view. If you agree, say why it is important to understand and debunk the myth.
Blau (2014/17) and Schiele (2014/17) argue that social policies and programs not only provide basic necessities to marginalized people and communities, but also serve to regulate both the economy and the lives of people of color in ways that promote the dominant paradigm. Choose a sector of the economy – e.g., housing, food, health care and describe how social welfare programs/policies (a) boost profits in that sector and (b) regulate the lives of people of color? (You might also find that Coates  and Willse  have useful contributions to this subject.)
Reisch (2014/17) and Warde (2017) identify key features of the Elizabethan Poor Laws and those that followed in the early United States (e.g., reforms articulated in the Report of the Committee on Pauper Laws). Articulate briefly five of these features and how their remnants can be seen in current social welfare policy.
Roll (2014/17) articulates various social changes that led to changes both in women’s relationship to the economy and in societal view of gender roles. Discuss the relationship you see among two or more of these changes – or how Roll’s analysis is lacking.
Reisch (2014/17) articulates seven stages of policy development. Briefly describe them. Collins (2007) discusses three dimensions of oppression – the institutional, the symbolic, and the individual. Briefly describe each, as well as how you see them in the context of social welfare policy (e.g., in formation, implementation, evaluation).
Explain a policy that may have had unintended consequences, and explain why that may have happened. What can we do to try to avoid such consequences?
Caputo (2014/17) notes: “Structuring problems is an important activity for policy analysts,” for the way that we define a problem will dictate, in part, the solutions we consider. Pick a social problem, and define the issue in two different ways, showing how various articulations of the issue lead to disparate solutions. (You might also find that Coates  and Willse  have useful contributions to this subject. Reisch [2014/17] also discusses the social construction of social problems.)
Briefly describe the following concepts – and provide an example of the concept applied in the context of policy analysis: Universal benefit Means-tested (or selective) benefit Population-at-risk Inclusiveness of coverage Horizontal adequacy Vertical adequacy Horizontal equity Vertical equity
Why, if the U.S. federal income tax is progressive, is the total share of taxes that will be paid across the economic spectrum roughly equal to their total share of income – i.e., proportional to the income they capture? (For example, the richest one percent of Americans pay 23.7% of total taxes and receive 21.6% of total income, while the poorest one-fifth of Americans pay 2.1% of total taxes and receive 3.3% of total income.) In answering this question, you should define and discuss progressive taxes, regressive taxes, tax expenditures, and marginal and effective tax rates – and provide examples of each.
Different economic theories suggest different responses to periodic economic crises. According to traditional Keynesian economic theory, how should governments respond to recession? Why? According to supply-side economic theory, how should governments respond to recession? Why? How would Marxist theorists critique both Keynesian and supply-side theory?
Two trends within the past 50 years have increasingly moved the authority and implementation of social welfare policy away from the federal government. What is policy devolution? Provide an example. What is privatization? Provide an example. Why should we care?
Describe the difference between mandatory and discretionary spending – and why is the distinction important?
Put the following steps of the legislative process in the correct order. For the italicized steps, describe how you might advocate effectively for the bill at this step. (Who are the targets of your advocacy? What might you do?) The Finance Committee considers amendments to House Bill 1 that were raised during its hearing. House Bill 1 crosses over to the other chamber for consideration. House Bill 1 passes second reading in the Senate with amendments. The full Senate debates House Bill 1 and considers amendments to the bill. The full House of Delegates debates House Bill 1 and considers amendments to the bill. The Finance Committee holds a hearing on House Bill 1. House Bill 1 passes third reader in the House of Delegates. The bill becomes law. The Economic Matters Committee holds a hearing on House Bill 1. Both the full membership of House and the Senate vote favorably on the conference report – the comprise version – of House Bill 1. House Bill 1 is drafted by the Department of Legislative Services The governor signs the bill. House Bill 1 passes second reading in the House of Delegates without amendments. The Finance Committee votes favorably on House Bill 1 – with amendments. House Bill 1 passes third reader in the Senate. House Bill 1 – without the possibility of amendments – is debated by and receives approval from a majority of the membership in a floor vote in the House of Delegates. House Bill 1 is introduced in the Senate, where it has its first reading and is referred to the Finance Committee. The Economic Matters Committee votes favorably on House Bill 1. The governor considers the bill for signature or veto. House Bill 1 is introduced in the House of Delegates, where it has its first reading and is referred to the Economic Matters Committee. A conference committee – which includes three delegates and three senators – is appointed to draft a compromise bill. House Bill 1 – without the possibility of additional amendments – is debated by and receives approval from a majority of the membership in a floor vote in the Senate.
Why are social workers – including and especially those who engage in direct practice – well positioned to be effective advocates for policy change?
What grade would you give yourself for engagement in the learning process of this course – including your preparation for and engagement in class? How might you and/or I improve your learning during the second half of the semester? (No Points)
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