Who Cares: The Social Safety Net in America (Paperback)
The first comprehensive map of the social safety net, public and private, in the United States. Societies are often judged by how they treat their most vulnerable members: the poor and near poor. In the United States, this responsibility belongs not only to governments, but also to charities, businesses, individuals, and family members. Their combined efforts generate a social safety net. In Who Cares, Christopher Howard offers the first comprehensive map of the US social safety net. He chronicles how different parts of American society talk about poverty-related needs. And he shows what Americans do to provide basic levels of income, food, housing, medical care, and daily care. Although the US social safety net is extensive, major gaps remain, particularly impacting Blacks, Hispanics, and individuals who are not employed full-time. Drawing heavily upon evidence from the years right before the Covid-19 pandemic, Howard demonstrates that these problems persist even when the economy seems healthy. Who Cares concludes with an initial assessment of how the social safety net performed during the pandemic.
Christopher Howard is the Pamela C. Harriman Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William and Mary, where he has worked since 1993. He specializes in the history and politics of US social policy. Howard is the author of three books and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Social Policy; he has also written numerous journal articles and book chapters. He is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and the Scholars Strategy Network. He has won a campus-wide teaching award and an Outstanding Faculty Award from the state of Virginia. Chris was a History major at Duke University and earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from MIT.