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Perspective

How We Stopped Villainizing the Social Safety Net

The coronavirus crisis has made clear to more American people and politicians what was true all along: Giving workers a social safety net benefits us all.
Contract delivery workers who aren't often treated like employees were granted more protections under several coronavirus emergency measures.
Contract delivery workers who aren't often treated like employees were granted more protections under several coronavirus emergency measures.Demetrius Freeman/Bloomberg

In these topsy-turvy times of rapid transformation in response to Covid-19, it has become apparent that a number of once-unimaginable policy solutions are no longer crazy ideas. In a newfound empathy and solidarity for front-line workers like grocery store clerks, drivers delivering packages, and sanitation workers still picking up the trash, you can see a potentially re-shaped America on the horizon.

It turns out that we can strengthen the social safety net — though it unfortunately took a pandemic to create the widespread support to do so. Political leaders — starting local and rapidly scaling up to their state and federal counterparts — have been quick to support and institute a wide range of emergency support measures to help people right now.