Why the Government Fails at Welfare
Why the Government Fails at Welfare By Garrett Kehr – The Daily Bell
The leviathan created by the modern welfare state is one of the gravest threats facing the American republican system. Dangers levied by the continued use of the government’s dole come both fiscally and socially. Fixes being floated from Congress to community organizations still lack a cohesive focus on reform in the mainstream public discourse.
The federal welfare apparatus has bloomed into a disastrous menagerie of nearly one hundred programs. Representative Warren Davidson (OH8-R) has introduced legislation that will consolidate 92 of the programs in an attempt to minimize waste and redundancy. Davidson isn’t alone in his calls for welfare reform. Other members of the House Freedom Caucus are publicly demanding that welfare reform be tied into the promised Trump tax reform package.
Even if House conservatives get their way, it’s not clear if the welfare model is sustainable. Stacked up against other industrialized countries, the U.S. clearly gets the worst bang for its buck. In part, the reason for the failings comes from flawed designsfor the American social safety net.
Governments on both sides of the Atlantic seem to be settled on the model of government intervention supporting those in need, but several Pacific Rim countries offer a different model based on social responsibility.
Pacific Rim Models
The tiny nation of Singapore has dazzled economists and pundits since it gained its independence from Great Britain. By embracing free market principles Singapore has raised its per capita income from $500 to over $52,000 in the short time it has been free of colonial shackles.
Even more exciting is the attitude the government takes on social welfare programming. Since its inception, the state has taken a hard stance on handouts. The government’s longtime approach has been underpinned by the idea that universal benefits are “wasteful and inequitable” and has chosen to base their safety net on social pressures. Singapore’s philosophy on welfare follows.