This working paper examines how economic insecurity has evolved over time, the degree to which past policy efforts have mitigated economic insecurity, and touches on the components of an encompassing solution. The ultimate goal of this work is to help policymakers design an assured income policy portfolio that solidifies a floor of basic support and reduces economic insecurity. This policy goal is not solely backward looking or corrective. An inclusive economy with basic security for all creates both the backstop from depression and widespread prosperity during periods of economic growth.
In addressing economic insecurity, the solution is not a single policy, but a portfolio of policies. These policies reflect an overarching goal—get income to households—but not a single means of doing so. This in turn reflects that the sources of economic insecurity are not simple or even the same for different individuals and families.
This document will be amended based on feedback offered by participants in the National Academy of Social Insurance’s 2021 conference Pathways to Economic Security: Bringing All Voices to the Table and continued comments from members of the Economic Security Study Panel. This working paper does not include the Policy Options section of the report, which will outline the means by which policymakers might improve labor policy, benefit policy, protection policy, and equity policy, as defined on page 32. Revisions to the Policy Options section continue to take place; in your feedback we welcome suggestions for policies you believe should be included in the forthcoming report. The final report will include Acknowledgments, Methodology, the sections herein, Policy Options, and appendices.