• Unit 5: Care for the Poor, Sick, Elderly, and Infirm

    Since ancient times, a recognized purpose of government has been to bind communities together and help citizens care for one another. In this unit, we examine government policies that seek to provide benefits for the poor, sick, elderly, and infirm. How do lawmakers and officials justify taking from some in the form of taxes to give to those who need assistance? What are the ethical and legal limitations on such programs? These questions form the basis for inquiry in this unit.

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

    • 5.1: Social Security and Health Insurance

      President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the U.S. Congress put social safety net programs such as social security into place during the mid-20th century during the great depression. For decades these programs have gone mostly unchallenged by presidents of either party, however they have become fiscally broken in recent years. Looking forward, policy makers will need to find a way to financially salvage these programs or redesign them.

    • 5.2: Poverty in America

      Poverty in America is an issue policy makers have been working on for nearly 100 years. Lately, more Americans have been concerned about the country's level of wealth inequality and have sought to find ways to improve the gap between the richest and poorest Americans. In recent years, economic downturns have hit the poorest Americans especially hard.

    • 5.3: Dilemmas Involving Illness and Infirmity

      Questions surrounding the sickest Americans, as well as policy impacting those who are disabled, have been on the radar of federal lawmakers off and on since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. These resources examine questions surrounding life and death dilemmas involving the terminally sick.

    • Unit 5 Assessment