Where Should Welfare States Stop?

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Simple question, complicated answer thread!

Basically, where should social programs such as Education, Unemployment benefits, and Health Care stop? Should the state provide nothing? Everything if it can?

Personally I think the state should allow for those without the means to have access to things that are required for someone to live an independent lifestyle. These would be things that would basically keep someone able to attain a job, reasonably healthy, and from starving. From a practical standpoint this gets a little more complicated, but the ideal vision remains. A person should never get to the point where everything they have is being provided by the state, to me this is probably one of the worst positions someone can be in short of major physical deprivation.

Shock and Awe:

Personally I think the state should allow for those without the means to have access to things that are required for someone to live an independent lifestyle. These would be things that would basically keep someone able to attain a job, reasonably healthy, and from starving.

And you said there's no simple answer. But I'd pretty much agree here, of course the specific things required depends on the state, for example, in the Western world when a lot of bureaucracy is digitalized already, not having access to internet puts a major dent into your job prospects, while it's likely not nearly as problematic if you're, say, living in Nigeria (I suppose).

Shock and Awe:
A person should never get to the point where everything they have is being provided by the state, to me this is probably one of the worst positions someone can be in short of major physical deprivation.

Also true. Being dependant on welfare sucks. It's not a cozy lifestyle of no responsibility some people make it out to be. It's not even life, it's just...existance.

Shock and Awe:
Simple question, complicated answer thread!

Basically, where should social programs such as Education, Unemployment benefits, and Health Care stop? Should the state provide nothing? Everything if it can?

Personally I think the state should allow for those without the means to have access to things that are required for someone to live an independent lifestyle. These would be things that would basically keep someone able to attain a job, reasonably healthy, and from starving. From a practical standpoint this gets a little more complicated, but the ideal vision remains. A person should never get to the point where everything they have is being provided by the state, to me this is probably one of the worst positions someone can be in short of major physical deprivation.

When federal(Main government) Taxes, and state(or provinces) taxes are above 30 percent. I also think Education should be taxed locally. The way education works in the U.S is haywire. They don't reward the smartest schools, and schools with the highest scores,attendance etc. At the school district I live in(I know some teachers) they once cut our Federal funding solely because our property values were higher.

Gergar12:

When federal(Main government) Taxes, and state(or provinces) taxes are above 30 percent.

That sounds...incredibly arbitrary. Taxes can be spent on all kinds of things, and while welfare might be overfunded as opposed to other departments, it might as well not be, and before you look into the whole picture you can't just go "Oh, taxes are too high, let's just cut welfare".

Define welfare, there are plenty of countries where all primary education is public and where private medical practices are pretty much non-existent.
None of these things really counts as welfare, or a nanny state just as basic public services.
It's like saying that if the government is in charge of supplying you with electricity and water it counts as welfare. Or that heavily subsidized public transportation or farm subsidies to reduce the price of basic food products and prevent farmers from growing highly specialized crops mainly for export is welfare.

I personally believe that education, public transportation, retraining/"unwanted" Jobs Training, basic internet services etc. should be provided to some degree by the state.

As for medical services well the US really needs to fix it's issues, it's the country with the highest per capita spending on medical services in the world by a long shot, more than half of which is public spending, I'm not sure how many of those people that have "Private Insurance" and belong to an HMO that protest against "socialized" medicine actually know just how much those companies can and co claim back from the various state and federal programs that are funded with their taxes.

I'm sort of in the school of thought that at the very least, people should have some sort of access to everything we're required to give to prisoners at a minimum to not be accused of a crime against humanity. Nutritious food, clean water, clothing, and shelter. Of course it's up to people whether or not they utilize these things, but they should still be available. And none of these should be reliant upon charities, because charities can shut down, move away, or have slumps in donations. Whether or not someone has food or a roof over their head should never depend solely upon the generosity of others.

Healthcare is also something we're required to give prisoners, so I feel like that's also something everybody deserves at a minimum. That is not an endorsement of the poorly planned and executed Obamacare, simply an endorsement the of the idea that whether or not somebody can live or afford a medicine that will drastically improve their quality of life should not depend on how much money they have to spend on such things.

Personally I believe we should have a totally free education system, a universal health care system (though with some room for private insurance/medical companies if they can possibly prove they're worth paying into to their customers) and relatively regular unemployment benefits, though with a strict amount of regulation to stop supposed "mooching" from the system.

Any system, I believe, that leaves the essentials of life in the modern world (Education and Health Care) in the hands of the "Free Market" is condemning it's citizens to either a life of pseudo-slavery to corporations, or a slow death on the streets.

Gergar12:
I also think Education should be taxed locally. The way education works in the U.S is haywire. They don't reward the smartest schools, and schools with the highest scores,attendance etc. At the school district I live in(I know some teachers) they once cut our Federal funding solely because our property values were higher.

I would double check that claim. You do realize that The US public school system(s) are funded mainly by local taxes (with state portions determined also by the local tax rates), which is part of the problem. Poorer districts, the ones who have the most need for education in order to uplift the poor, have poorly funded schools.

From the Wikipedia article:
One of the biggest debates in funding public schools is funding by local taxes or state taxes. The federal government supplies around 8.5% of the public school system funds, according to a 2005 report by the National Center for Education Statistics. The remaining split between state and local governments averages 48.7 percent from states and 42.8 percent from local sources.

[...]

Rural schools struggle with funding concerns. State funding sources often favor wealthier districts. The state establishes a minimum flat amount deemed "adequate" to educate a child based on equalized assessed value of property taxes. This favors wealthier districts with a much larger tax base. This, combined with the history of slow payment in the state, leaves rural districts searching for funds. Lack of funding leads to limited resources for teachers. Resources that directly relate to funding include access to high-speed internet, online learning programs and advanced course offerings. These resources can enhance a student's learning opportunities, but may not be available to everyone if a district cannot afford to offer specific programs.

More on topic: At a minimum, a country should provide a national education system (all levels from pre-primary to post-grad and technical education), healthcare system (or at least public insurance system), security (police, fire, prisons, military/intelligence, health/safety agencies, etc.), a pension system, a judicial system with public advocates for criminal defendants, public housing, food assistance, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, and catastrophic care insurance (i.e. if you or a member of your family is permanently unable to work due to disability, the government provides a stipend to cover expenses that result as well as a moderate income to insure a minimum standard of living).

The basics of life should never be something that you can end up without. A roof over your head, food on your table, education, doctors, these things are vital. And thus should be provided to everyone. No one should ever have to choose between paying rent or buying food. No one should ever worry about not having enough money to eat if they get sick for a day. Education should be free at all levels, to allow the maximum in social mobility.

And, of course, people will say "what's to stop leeches from just taking government handouts and never working?" Nothing. But I'm pretty sure that most people don't want a life like that. If you don't work, then you sit in your apartment all day. You don't have cable, so no television. You have only the most basic, dial-up speed internet (because most job applications are done online these days), so no watching youtube videos either. No job means no car, no spending money. If all you aspire to is having a roof over your head and some food on your table while you sit in a glorified hotel room all day and night, then live that life. But I have a feeling that, given the choice, most people would go educate themselves, find a career, or at least a part-time job for some spending money.

America is supposed to be "The Land of Opportunity". But right now it seems that the only opportunity around for most Americans is the opportunity to load yourself up with debt that you'll never fully pay off. Americans are entitled to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". So let's make sure everyone has what they need to live, and let them go find that happiness.

Offer education, home, food to those whom need it. Scew what those opposed says.

Without these basic rights certain people become dependant on the banks, as if that's PREFFERABLE to being dependant on the Govenment in one more thing.

Witty Name Here:
Personally I believe we should have a totally free education system, a universal health care system (though with some room for private insurance/medical companies if they can possibly prove they're worth paying into to their customers) and relatively regular unemployment benefits, though with a strict amount of regulation to stop supposed "mooching" from the system.

And I approve, but the problem is getting enough people to be willing to pay the taxes for it. Or be having them willing to pay for it when the school or health-care doesn't seem to be 'working' (which can be for any number of reasons).

Vegosiux:
[quote="Shock and Awe" post="528.408589.17072636"]

Also true. Being dependant on welfare sucks. It's not a cozy lifestyle of no responsibility some people make it out to be. It's not even life, it's just...existance.

Geh. It's a bit so and so. I've been on welfare (Sweden). I thought it sucked. Not because I couldn't do anything (I could, and I did, I just had to limit my food-expenses and not buy anything really expensive. But I could buy videogames or go get drunk, or spend an entire week watching House, etc), but because it hurt my pride to be dependent on the system. I felt like a parasite on everyone's hard work. I couldn't live with myself, and thus I applied for jobs all the time.
Such a mentality is exactly the mentality we want for our unemployed, and I'd say even most people have it. The problem is that there DOES exist those that do not, and are perfectly fine with the life-style, and the conservative-voters are blowing the number of these people far out of proportion.

We should collectively fund the things that benefit the welfare of society as a whole. Healthcare to keep a healthy population, basic education to teach our kids to read and write, higher education to ensure an educated workforce and to provide basic necessities for people who can not afford it themselves for whatever reason. You give according to ability and receive according to need.

Of course, this relies on these things being handled well and on a strong sense of civic duty. The welfare state can't exist in a neo-liberal, individualist environment. People need to consider themselves and be considered by others to have a responsibility not just to themselves but to society as a whole.

Realitycrash:

Geh. It's a bit so and so. I've been on welfare (Sweden). I thought it sucked. Not because I couldn't do anything (I could, and I did, I just had to limit my food-expenses and not buy anything really expensive. But I could buy videogames or go get drunk, or spend an entire week watching House, etc), but because it hurt my pride to be dependent on the system. I felt like a parasite on everyone's hard work. I couldn't live with myself, and thus I applied for jobs all the time.
Such a mentality is exactly the mentality we want for our unemployed, and I'd say even most people have it. The problem is that there DOES exist those that do not, and are perfectly fine with the life-style, and the conservative-voters are blowing the number of these people far out of proportion.

I hear you. I've been on welfare for quite a while now, and while I do everything I can to get a job, even picked up a home study that I can barely afford, but the job market is just terrible right now.
I'm glad people like me are not left to rot in the dirt, and when things get better I will repay my debt to society.

Shock and Awe:
Simple question, complicated answer thread!

Basically, where should social programs such as Education, Unemployment benefits, and Health Care stop? Should the state provide nothing? Everything if it can?

Personally I think the state should allow for those without the means to have access to things that are required for someone to live an independent lifestyle. These would be things that would basically keep someone able to attain a job, reasonably healthy, and from starving. From a practical standpoint this gets a little more complicated, but the ideal vision remains. A person should never get to the point where everything they have is being provided by the state, to me this is probably one of the worst positions someone can be in short of major physical deprivation.

You summed up a complicated issue very succinctly. This nails exactly how I feel it should be handled.

The Gentleman:
Poorer districts, the ones who have the most need for education in order to uplift the poor, have poorly funded schools.

That's a very poor choice of words.

Gold:

The Gentleman:
Poorer districts, the ones who have the most need for education in order to uplift the poor, have poorly funded schools.

That's a very poor choice of words.

I think it works.

Anyway, I think the state should provide a safety net, support for people until they support themselves. Much cheaper education for the unemployed (though my state has decided to cut that due to a budget deficit, and when they announced there wasn't one, they decided to do it anyway), basic housing and accomodation and so on.

As an aside, my country has a number of refugees (not nearly as many as the mass media would imply, though), living on (tiny) government handouts and not giving anything back to the community because they aren't allowed to have jobs. They have to sit there and wait for the paperwork to go through, which I think is absurd.

thaluikhain:

Gold:

The Gentleman:
Poorer districts, the ones who have the most need for education in order to uplift the poor, have poorly funded schools.

That's a very poor choice of words.

I think it works.

Anyway, I think the state should provide a safety net, support for people until they support themselves. Much cheaper education for the unemployed (though my state has decided to cut that due to a budget deficit, and when they announced there wasn't one, they decided to do it anyway), basic housing and accomodation and so on.

As an aside, my country has a number of refugees (not nearly as many as the mass media would imply, though), living on (tiny) government handouts and not giving anything back to the community because they aren't allowed to have jobs. They have to sit there and wait for the paperwork to go through, which I think is absurd.

I was joking, though I'm pretty sure you got that.

I just think everyone has the right to a job, a home, food, health and an education.

I'm not talking about moving someone homeless into a mansion or anything, but surely something could be done like boarding houses. I don't know, I'm not clever enough to call what can or can't be done within a realistic budget, but I don't think it's "entitled" to think everyone has the right to those five things that I was lucky enough to have provided for me that many aren't.

Gold:

thaluikhain:

Gold:

That's a very poor choice of words.

I think it works.

Anyway, I think the state should provide a safety net, support for people until they support themselves. Much cheaper education for the unemployed (though my state has decided to cut that due to a budget deficit, and when they announced there wasn't one, they decided to do it anyway), basic housing and accomodation and so on.

As an aside, my country has a number of refugees (not nearly as many as the mass media would imply, though), living on (tiny) government handouts and not giving anything back to the community because they aren't allowed to have jobs. They have to sit there and wait for the paperwork to go through, which I think is absurd.

I was joking, though I'm pretty sure you got that.

I just think everyone has the right to a job, a home, food, health and an education.

If a 'job' is a right, then define what a 'job' is? Must I get payed? Can I go months (or years) as an intern? What kind of job are we talking about?

Realitycrash:

Gold:

thaluikhain:

I think it works.

Anyway, I think the state should provide a safety net, support for people until they support themselves. Much cheaper education for the unemployed (though my state has decided to cut that due to a budget deficit, and when they announced there wasn't one, they decided to do it anyway), basic housing and accomodation and so on.

As an aside, my country has a number of refugees (not nearly as many as the mass media would imply, though), living on (tiny) government handouts and not giving anything back to the community because they aren't allowed to have jobs. They have to sit there and wait for the paperwork to go through, which I think is absurd.

I was joking, though I'm pretty sure you got that.

I just think everyone has the right to a job, a home, food, health and an education.

If a 'job' is a right, then define what a 'job' is? Must I get payed? Can I go months (or years) as an intern? What kind of job are we talking about?

One where you get paid.

Gold:

Realitycrash:

Gold:

I was joking, though I'm pretty sure you got that.

I just think everyone has the right to a job, a home, food, health and an education.

If a 'job' is a right, then define what a 'job' is? Must I get payed? Can I go months (or years) as an intern? What kind of job are we talking about?

One where you get paid.

So basically, it is welfare except with mandatory communal service?

Gergar12:

When federal(Main government) Taxes, and state(or provinces) taxes are above 30 percent. I also think Education should be taxed locally. The way education works in the U.S is haywire. They don't reward the smartest schools, and schools with the highest scores,attendance etc. At the school district I live in(I know some teachers) they once cut our Federal funding solely because our property values were higher.

We shouldn't reward the best schools, though, should we? If we want to improve school standards, we need to devote attention and resources into improving the worst ones. It's completely inefficient to pour resources into ones already succeeding as the extra improvement per extra unit money spent is likely to be very low.

Of course, we could pour resources into successful schools at the same time as pouring a load of underperforming students into them, in the expectation that they will work wonders on them too.

Being a U.K. citizen I have an idealized picture of how a benefits net should function across society, given that it is paid for by people and therefor should be for the people and EXACTLY how they want and need it to be - the State is just a facilitator for it's construction and management.

Health Care is Englands largest pride and joy. Sadly we are having it gutted atm and it will probably never be the same... with that in mind I'd have free health care for all, provided it is for health reasons and not cosmetic. Additionally, if there is disfigurement where it has affected the mental health of a person because of injury or birth defect then that should be covered too. In essence, this is TOP priority and, when structures properly, can produce jobs and economic growth.

Education should be the second highest priority over - certainly over prisons (yup - State owned/run prisons and here is why: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/528.408612-Poll-Pennsylvania-Judge-Sentenced-For-28-Years-For-Selling-Kids-to-the-Prison-System), Unemployment benefits and other public services.
The reason for this is that, I believe, understanding the world around you and what context you perceive it in is paramount to the kind of person you become. Given the best shot in the early years when most of us are too young to appreciate it is also not always the best way to go - adults should be given better access to education for re-training purposes so that in times of economic recession, such as now, we can have people getting back into work off their own efforts rather then relying on the State because they cannot find work in their specialized area.
Whilst I understand that even a State cannot be trusted to do this without enforcing a political or propaganda agenda, I've seen that private companies running education that do not have history in running a not-for-profit organization completely fail. State is the best of a bad bunch.

Unemployment benefit is a tricky one. I myself an unemployed and need State benefits to survive atm. The amount I am given is way below the national average wage and miles below the Living Wage level. So, really I do not have a problem with this system in that if anything I'd want it to be improved - my real problem is not with this part of Welfare but the fact that people depend on it at all!
In the U.K. the government basically subsidizes WAGES though Working Tax Credits. In short, we are notoriously underpaid and over charged in this country and companies are NOT paying out for wages, so we our middle-classes up through tax redistribution (Working Tax Credits).
So, ideally, I'd have a stronger push for a proper living wage across the country first and THEN start to improve the standards of the benefit network - after all, the more people get paid, the more tax can be collected and the better redistributed and improved public services can become (in theory).

CAPTCHA: Sneezing baby panda

Realitycrash:

Gold:

Realitycrash:

If a 'job' is a right, then define what a 'job' is? Must I get payed? Can I go months (or years) as an intern? What kind of job are we talking about?

One where you get paid.

So basically, it is welfare except with mandatory communal service?

Honestly I don't hate that idea, but I'm sure then companies would just get these indentured servants to work for them instead of hiring employees so the government would pay them instead.

Not sure how it would work properly.

Gold:

Realitycrash:

Gold:

One where you get paid.

So basically, it is welfare except with mandatory communal service?

Honestly I don't hate that idea, but I'm sure then companies would just get these indentured servants to work for them instead of hiring employees so the government would pay them instead.

Not sure how it would work properly.

I love the idea of a job as a right (I've expressed similar thoughts before), but the problem is the quality of job provided. COuld the state always provide a job? Sure. Would it be a net-loss for the state and menial labor? Most likely.

Realitycrash:

Gold:

Realitycrash:

So basically, it is welfare except with mandatory communal service?

Honestly I don't hate that idea, but I'm sure then companies would just get these indentured servants to work for them instead of hiring employees so the government would pay them instead.

Not sure how it would work properly.

I love the idea of a job as a right (I've expressed similar thoughts before), but the problem is the quality of job provided. COuld the state always provide a job? Sure. Would it be a net-loss for the state and menial labor? Most likely.

Also the amounts paid. You'd have harder jobs and easier jobs, would that be acknowledged by the state or would everyone get the same regardless.

Lots of problems with the idea, it's a shame I just find it so damn attractive.

Realitycrash:

I love the idea of a job as a right (I've expressed similar thoughts before), but the problem is the quality of job provided. COuld the state always provide a job? Sure. Would it be a net-loss for the state and menial labor? Most likely.

The most obvious problem with the state providing jobs to 100% unemployment is that the state would be employing people to do economically active stuff that would otherwise be done by the private sector, thus shrinking the private sector and leaving more people for the government to find jobs to do.

The answer is for the state to employ people to do "useless" work. This would naturally be expensive for the state. There would be one possible pay-off: if that 'useless' work acted to improve the employability of the 'unemployed' sufficiently to counteract the cost long-term. One major factor of course being that enough economically productive work eventually materialised to make use of the spare labour supply.

Agema:
The answer is for the state to employ people to do "useless" work. This would naturally be expensive for the state. There would be one possible pay-off: if that 'useless' work acted to improve the employability of the 'unemployed' sufficiently to counteract the cost long-term. One major factor of course being that enough economically productive work eventually materialised to make use of the spare labour supply.

That's not the only option. You can employ people to do useful work that otherwise wouldn't get done. Building up infrastructure is the usual example, your roads and rail could always be better, and improving them provides a benefit for years to come. Perhaps not enough to justify the expense by itself, but not useless.

I think benefits are valuable and in many cases necessary.

I don't think benefits should ever be so generous that they're preferable to working. I have a friend who's a single mother, and she's better off not working - that just seems crazy to me.

Agema:

The answer is for the state to employ people to do "useless" work. This would naturally be expensive for the state. There would be one possible pay-off: if that 'useless' work acted to improve the employability of the 'unemployed' sufficiently to counteract the cost long-term. One major factor of course being that enough economically productive work eventually materialised to make use of the spare labour supply.

The state (Swedish) does provide certain jobs to the unemployed. But without any form of reimbursement. They work for free, and their payment is welfare and 'experience'. Now in certain fields (like in administration or service), this might make the experience worth the effort, since those are attractive skills on the market, but there are also a whole slew of shitty jobs that one might be forced to take.

Gergar12:
They don't reward the smartest schools, and schools with the highest scores,attendance etc.

Well, actually, the problem in the US is that they do reward the "smartest" schools. Or rather, if a school does better on standardized tests then it receives better funding. However, on the flipside if a school does poorly then it loses funding. And if with this lowered funding the school doesn't improve, then it loses accreditation and the diplomas students walk out with are worthless.

The problem of course is that the schools that are doing poorly are doing poorly because they don't have enough resources. So taking away those resources is naturally going to make things worse. Rewarding schools with the highest scores isn't bad in theory, but when you've got thousands of inner-city and rural schools teetering on the brink and lacking the funding to turn themselves around, it's hard to argue that money couldn't be better spent elsewhere. A school that's already making high scores doesn't need that money as badly as the school that is using textbooks from the 80s and only has working heat and air conditioning for a fraction of the year.

And the other problem is in the second sentence I wrote: "standardized testing." The No Child Left Behind Act not only started this backwards funding allocation model, but also put all the pressure on standardized test scores. The problem with this is that standardized tests tell you nothing of a student's skills or intelligence beyond their ability to memorize and regurgitate information. It doesn't tell you if they collaborate well, it doesn't tell you about their ability to think abstractly or solve an intricate problem. You know, skills that are actually useful in reality. By using this as our only measuring stick, the only reason schools with good scores have those good scores is because they've become very efficient at turning out students who can regurgitate the right answer to a question if given the options A, B, C, and D.

Lilani:

Gergar12:
They don't reward the smartest schools, and schools with the highest scores,attendance etc.

Well, actually, the problem in the US is that they do reward the "smartest" schools. Or rather, if a school does better on standardized tests then it receives better funding. However, on the flipside if a school does poorly then it loses funding. And if with this lowered funding the school doesn't improve, then it loses accreditation and the diplomas students walk out with are worthless.

The problem of course is that the schools that are doing poorly are doing poorly because they don't have enough resources. So taking away those resources is naturally going to make things worse. Rewarding schools with the highest scores isn't bad in theory, but when you've got thousands of inner-city and rural schools teetering on the brink and lacking the funding to turn themselves around, it's hard to argue that money couldn't be better spent elsewhere. A school that's already making high scores doesn't need that money as badly as the school that is using textbooks from the 80s and only has working heat and air conditioning for a fraction of the year.

And the other problem is in the second sentence I wrote: "standardized testing." The No Child Left Behind Act not only started this backwards funding allocation model, but also put all the pressure on standardized test scores. The problem with this is that standardized tests tell you nothing of a student's skills or intelligence beyond their ability to memorize and regurgitate information. It doesn't tell you if they collaborate well, it doesn't tell you about their ability to think abstractly or solve an intricate problem. You know, skills that are actually useful in reality. By using this as our only measuring stick, the only reason schools with good scores have those good scores is because they've become very efficient at turning out students who can regurgitate the right answer to a question if given the options A, B, C, and D.

Standardized tests blow. This we know.
But what actual options do we have? How do you 'test' knowledge learned in schools except memorize and regurgitate information?
And how are you to test 'abstract thought and problem-solving' when it comes to History-class? Or Sociology? Or English?

By far, the problem seems to be that they use the same standardized test for EVERYTHING. Every fucking application to every college. Wanna be a chemist? Same test. Wanna be a teacher? Same test. Wanna be a fucking fire-officer? Same damn test. The same test (at least in Sweden, doesn't SATS work the same way?) determines if you get into any and every college-program.
And it pretty much only tests you on math and reading-comprehension.

Social Welfare Policies, if their significance is to be rationalized within the framework of a society or collective entity, must be constructed as investments, as such measures of their effectiveness are subject to the metrics of the statistician. It is to numbers which we must look; if a given policy can be illustrated, empirically, to have had a positive fiscal effect then that policy can be construed as effective.

or atleast, that's how I see it.

The Gentleman:

More on topic: At a minimum, a country should provide a national education system (all levels from pre-primary to post-grad and technical education), healthcare system (or at least public insurance system), security (police, fire, prisons, military/intelligence, health/safety agencies, etc.), a pension system, a judicial system with public advocates for criminal defendants, public housing, food assistance, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, and catastrophic care insurance (i.e. if you or a member of your family is permanently unable to work due to disability, the government provides a stipend to cover expenses that result as well as a moderate income to insure a minimum standard of living).

This. I believe heavily in socialized services because they provide for all, not just those with means to obtain privately, which I also think there should be huge protections against said services too. This current climate of 'slash & burn' (sequester) just reaffirms my political insight that a small portion of this country has the ways and means to hijack what is right for the country to what is good for them, and thus the conservative attitude of 'privatize everything' and 'let them eat cake' mentalities just confirms to me that a large degree of class welfare and hyper-polarization is eroding the potential of this country every day.

vonmanstein:
Social Welfare Policies, if their significance is to be rationalized within the framework of a society or collective entity, must be constructed as investments, as such measures of their effectiveness are subject to the metrics of the statistician. It is to numbers which we must look; if a given policy can be illustrated, empirically, to have had a positive fiscal effect then that policy can be construed as effective.

or atleast, that's how I see it.

Could you go head and quantify hunger for me please, into something that accurately portrays a way of allotment and thus fulfills your requirement while at the same time being effective?

Personally, I find investment in person's to be much more beneficial than any building, but then I do put life above arbitrary objects and human made entities... Not saying you don't, just going by what you just said.

For funding education:
You need an incentive for schools to do well, otherwise they won't manage it, but you can't punish bad schools for doing poorly because it's the pupils that go there that ruin it or they don't have the resources to do well.

In the UK we are often told about the people who live on benefits, I think we need to do something to stop this and cutting benefits won't work. We need to educate children in schools and tell them that living off of benefits is a bad way to live because of how bad it is as said by someone above. I think teaching people to care for eachother more and not just live "every man for himself" like we do currently.

Is there a point at which we can say that we can no longer afford large parts of it?

According to 2012 figures, the UK spends 25.9 percent of its GDP on welfare while Japan spends 18.6. Those are political decisions and I personally favour Japanese society to British society, but that may be more related to cultural norms rather than social policy. The point is that these are rich countries with relatively high levels of GDP and they can afford to provide very robust welfare states, for now.

However, what if your GDP shrinks rapidly? What if your nation becomes radically poorer? Do you maintain current levels of welfare spending and thus increase how much of GDP is spent on welfare? At what point is that unviable?

Can Brits live without housing benefit? The Japanese certainly can (but with families and companies providing the subsidies that the state provides in the UK). Is this an economic issue or a cultural one? Are we talking about necessity here?

Finally, are our welfare states a privilege of being rich nations? A privilege of global and historically determined inequalities? Are we the spoilt brats of the world? Can we all prosper together or does the rise of X mean the decline of Y?

Regards

Nightspore

Nightspore:

Finally, are our welfare states a privilege of being rich nations? A privilege of global and historically determined inequalities? Are we the spoilt brats of the world? Can we all prosper together or does the rise of X mean the decline of Y?

While I do think that welfare states are a luxury, I do not think it makes us "spoiled", like we would somehow be better or more virtuous without them. They are a cultural phenomenon as much as the familial connections you see in Japan, and they are no more spoiled by their way of doing things than we are.

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