October 17, 2012
A recent study queried Americans about their preferences regarding wealth distribution, and found “a surprising level of consensus: All demographic groups—even those not usually associated with wealth redistribution such as Republicans and the wealthy—desired a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo.” When asked to choose from among three charts representing wealth distributions of unnamed countries, Sweden was the favorite. But oh, those suicide rates!
Here, I want to go on record as a champion of The Welfare State, so much abused and denigrated now. Society exists to provide food, clothing and shelter to its members. Nowadays, it also is supposed to supply medical care and other aids to well being. I see the welfare state as a higher stage in the evolution of society: it is dedicated to ensuring that all members of the social realm have at least the minimum acceptable level of these social goods. Very simple.
Critics will argue that welfare states don’t meet those goals, but the Scandinavians certainly are a good counter-argument. Or, they can argue that that type of society cannot work here – more American exceptionalism, but in a bad way! And they will say, that ultimately, our free-wheeling system provides more to more people, but those people seem to have other ideas.
Americans – get your act together. We Want a Welfare State Now!
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January 4, 2005
Today’s NYTimes Op-Ed page sports a piece by a Ms. Adelman, denizen of some conservative think-tank, in which she lays into those who regard our government’s (initial) response to the tsunami as “stingy.” Not so, she opines, we here in the USA actually give more than anyone else, but our foreign aid is privatized! So, to the measly 15 or 35 million dollars that GWB initially pledged from the coffers of the USA, she adds in all the donations that have been poring in from private individuals. Yes, it’s true, the people of the US are generous, and are responding in force. Would that our government represented us better.But here’s the kicker that I love so much. You see, those Europeans and Scands, as well as the Japanese, sunk in the moral depravity of their welfare-statism, only seem to give more than the USA, because all their giving comes from the government. The figures reported in the press are false, she says, because they only compare, say, Japan or Norway’s government donations to the USA’s miserable federal giving. Please note, she does not offer any comment, facts, or statistics on the level of private giving in these countries. She simply asserts, and assumes that it is negligible. Naturally their moral impulses have atrophied under years of state-run coddling, to the point that they are, no doubt, incapable of compassion and charity. Of course, one might ask, then, why they spend so much on social welfare in the first place, but…
Facts, Ms. Adelman, please. Enough ideological blather.