Friday, February 15, 2013

Foreign Affairs: Opinion-Kimberly J. Walsh: America's Misguided Approach to Social Welfare

Source: Foreign Affairs-
Source: Foreign Affairs: Opinion- Kimberly J. Walsh- America's Misguided Approach to Social Welfare

"The amount of resources the American public and private sectors commit to all forms of welfare is massive -- the fifth highest outlay in the world. Yet the American way of distributing that money does less to reduce poverty and inequality than that of virtually any other rich democracy. The United States can, and should, reform its welfare state, and it does not need to resort to European style socialism to do so./p"


America is especially by Social Democrats in this country that are always arguing for a much larger safety net or welfare state run by the Federal Government, is always compared with social democracies around the world like Canada and in Europe. And saying that we are way behind the rest of the world because they provide all of these benefits and so-forth and have far less rates of poverty and what's known as income inequality. (Which is a term I don't like and maybe I'll get into that later) And they say America should be more like Europe and so-forth because those countries do it better.

To me America is America and what we do we well, we do very well and what we aren't as good at like moving people out of poverty, we don't do well enough. That it's not that we are bad in some areas, but the things that we are good at we don't do them well enough so it expands to the country as a whole. And doesn't leave out 1/5 Americans. So the things that we do well, we just simply need to be doing them a lot better and have economic system thats expanded to the country as a whole and doesn't leave out 1/5 Americans.

A problem with America is not that we have too many rich people but that we don't have enough. We don't have a large enough middle class. Sure, it's probably still the largest in the world when it comes to numbers, but on a percentage basis it's not large enough which is why we have so many people living in poverty. A problem with America is not that we have too much economic freedom, but that we don't have enough economic freedom. Again we don't have an economic system that reaches enough Americans and have too many Americans without access to a good education where it starts and too many Americans without the skills so they can get a good job and be able to take care of themselves.

It's not that America is not socialist enough, but that we aren't liberal enough as a country in the classical sense. A liberalize economy where economic freedom is available for the whole country where enough Americans have the freedom to live their own lives and be able to take care of themselves. Which is how you get an economy 1/5 Americans who live in poverty, because they are living without the freedom to live their own lives and be happy.

We probably don't spend enough as a country and I'm not talking about government, but the country as a whole. We probably don't spend enough on social insurance in America and should probably invest more there. But like I said before social insurance or every part of government or any organization in the private sector shouldn't be judged by how much you spend on those programs, but what you are getting with the money you are spending. Do the people have adequate housing, enough quality food, are their communities safe enough. Are they getting quality health care, do they have access to education and job training, are they in and completing those programs.

Are there jobs for people once they have the skills to work and get a good job and so forth. Are their kids in school and are they getting a good education or not. If this was how we judged social welfare in this country instead of by how much we spend on it and how we stack up with other countries in what they provide for their people, we wouldn't have 1/5 Americans living in poverty and would be much more competitive with the rest of the world.

This also gets to the discussion or debate of why do we have a social insurance system and what should it be for. Should we have a what's called a European style welfare state and become a lot more socialist. And have this huge system thats there to take care of people and save them with having to make decisions and take responsibility for their own lives.

Should social insurance be there to take care of people and meet especially people who live in poverty and their everyday needs. Or should we do what I want to do and again here's the L word again, but become more liberal as a country. And empower these people so they can get the tools that they need to have the same freedom to live their own lives and be able to take care of themselves. And I believe you know where I am. And it's not so much that we don't spend enough as a country when it comes to social insurance. But more about how we invest those resources.

My position when it comes to social insurance is pretty clear. I want it to be so effective that it becomes obsolete knowing that we'll probably never get there, but we are always striving for that goal as a country. So we can have the best social insurance system that we can have with the fewest amount of people living in poverty. Also knowing we'll probably never eliminate poverty in this country just like we'll probably never eliminate crime. Doesn't mean you don't try to accomplish those things but you shoot for the stars and see how far you can get.
:Professor Drew Halfmann: How Do The American and Swedish Welfare States Differ?

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