Yes, there is a welfare state in America

I think is probably true to say that most people outside the USA think that America does not have a welfare state. Perhaps quite a few inside the USA think the same. There is a worldwide desire to put countries in clear categories: America is the land of raw capitalism, Sweden is the land of socialism and so on. When I was in Australia some months ago, someone there referred to ‘Socialist Europe’. The BBC loves to think that life is hard and cruel in wholly capitalist America.

But the truth is that, for good or ill, America does have a welfare state. The vast majority of children go to government schools and government universities. There are welfare benefits for the poor. There is government paid-for healthcare for the poor and the old (40% of healthcare in the USA has been paid for by the government even before Obamacare). There is subsidised public housing.  America has a welfare state.

Indeed, President Obama is campaigning using a cartoon advertisement which positively celebrates how much the government looks after an imaginary ‘Julia’. You could call the cartoon strip ‘From the cradle to the grave’.

For a counter-blast, see this ‘Life of Zachary’.

  1. Welfare reform reduced poverty in America. When will the Tories endorse it?
  2. The success of welfare reform in America
  3. The welfare state is not a uniquely British creation
  4. Italian welfare – a curate’s egg
  5. The LSE quota for state school students and the possible privatisation of universities
This entry was posted in Education, Healthcare and the NHS, Housing, Media, including BBC bias, Welfare benefits. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Yes, there is a welfare state in America

  1. Lindsay says:

    And it is a complex issue trying to sort out the extent of ‘welfare states’ at a local level ie Texas would be very different to California.

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