Building an adequate U.S. labor and social protection system for the 21st century (ESS ─ Working Paper No. 60)
This paper reviews the erosion of labor and social protections for U.S. workers and households over recent decades. It discusses the causes and the relative weight of different elements of the erosion in order to bring clarity to the discussion of needed reforms. It proposes a framework of policy objectives and principles to guide choices for reform among policy alternatives in the specific U.S. context. The paper also explores the relative merits of some alternative proposals to address these challenges. The prospects for political and legislative action to create a viable modern social and labor protection system are discussed. The paper concludes that updating and strengthening existing elements of the U.S. system provides a firm foundation for creating an adequate U.S. labor and social protection floor for the 21st century, if critical additional rights and programs are built on and integrated into this foundation.