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Welfare

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by NonSequitur, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. NonSequitur Gems: 19/31
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    I've been mulling this over since I saw this Darkwolf post in the AoDA:
    This isn't about the election, though - it's about the role of the state in service provision and assistance (or lack thereof). I'm interested to see where people stand on this one. Personally, I'm not a fan of intrusive government, nor do I like the idea of unconditional state support - I see it as a failure to meet the obligations of the social contract between the state and the citizen. However, I'm happy to get taxed up to 50c in the $1 if it means better education, health care and public services. Not everyone gets an equal start; therefore, I think it's more than a little unfair to expect everyone to start off the same mark.

    I'm not going to start a poll on anything - that's Aldeth's job - but I just wanted to see what people thought. Call it an exploratory post, if you will. Does your country need better welfare services (public health, legal aid, etc.)? Are you opposed to prolonged receipt of unemployment benefits? How much support do you believe should be available?
     
  2. Morgoroth

    Morgoroth Just because I happen to have tentacles, it doesn'

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    Well in a way America is too a wellfare country, I can hardly imagine that the government just lets someone starve to death if they are handicapped or for other reasons can't work (atleast I hope not).

    We in Finland have free healthcare and free education (and that includes all education). Education works well and should stay as it is since I think that's the best way to give everyone a equal chance to fight for their place in the society. The healthcare on the other hand sucks. We simply do not have the money to keep the current system and it's slowly getting extremely ineffective, something really needs to be done about it.

    The main problem with wellfare is that it's very expensive which means high taxes. In USA the middle class worker makes more money than here because our high taxes, but then again in here those with the lowest incomes do not actually have a hellish job like they have in USA. ;)
     
  3. Pac man Gems: 25/31
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    I don't think there's a country in the world with better a social security system than the Netherlands. Unfortunately it's being abused by many people, so things may change drastically in the near future.

    I don't know much about the US social security system, but i do know that you're pretty much screwed if you don't have a job and need medical attention on a regular basis.
     
  4. Splunge

    Splunge Bhaal’s financial advisor Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Well, Canada has a pretty good social service system - in theory, at least. Generally, there is a recognition that the services are desireable, and the policies and systems are in place to provide those services; the problem is that the money isn't there to to fund them. Increased taxes aren't really an option because tax rates are pretty high already, so it's a constant struggle trying to balance the need with the resources.

    I do believe, however, that those people who are financially able to look after themselves should do so, and leave the government programs for those who really need them.
     
  5. JSBB Gems: 31/31
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    I would have to say that the Canadian social service system works reasonably well. Sure they could always find ways to spend more if the budget was available but I think that most of the problems that are blatantly evident are either people who fall through the cracks because they don't want to be part of the system or lazy people who abuse the system.

    My Aunt is a single mother and was on welfare for a while and it seemed to me that the system worked reasonably well in handling her case.

    On the other hand, I have a couple of clients on long term disability through worker's compensation where I am sorely tempted to call up the government and blast someone over why no one has bothered to check if these people are really disabled.
     
  6. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    NZ has an OK welfare system but I think it has moved closer to the American user-pays model in recent years. For example, for more people have health insurance nowadays than ever before and only a fool would rely on a government pension when they retire.
     
  7. Bion Gems: 21/31
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    Sure, self-reliance is great and all that.

    People always say that a conservative is a liberal who got mugged. Aside from the questionable politics of this idea (that the difference between liberal and conservative comes down to victim's rights, or the hidden racist idea that those liberals preach compassion for these people, but look how they behave), I've seen more and more examples of liberals being conservatives who lost their jobs.

    This was particularly the case in the immediate post-dotcom era: overnight all of these Ayn-Rand-reading libertarian freemarketer computer programmers became trade isolationists. Apparently, while it's OK for some factory worker in Ohio to lose their job for the sake of the global economy, it's suddenly a big deal when mid-level office drones start getting the axe.

    At the same time, "self-reliance" is a bit more problematic today, as economies are far more systematic than they were in the past. I mean, it's not like you can just go out, get a farm, and live off the land anymore. More and more work today means office work, which means dependence on corporate whims for your daily bread. And given that corporations today express the need to change quickly and constantly to survive, the price is a continuous production of the newly unemployed; this is simply how things are set up to work. Hopefully these unemployed are picked up quickly somewhere else, but this is not a guarantee.

    Within the ideology of meritocracy, everyone with a job thinks they earned it, and looks down on those without a job, as though they are to blame for their situation. And certainly the notion of welfare abuse by the workshy, by the parasites of "our hard-earned taxes," plays powerfully to those satisfied with their lot. But I think many people don't realize how perilous their position really is, how vulnerable they might be in the case of a serious downturn (very likely IMO), precisely because they are reliance on the corporate dollar, and corporations aren't in the business of supplying lifetime employment anymore. They aren't the mythic self-reliant farmer of old, who could make their own living off the land without being reliant upon the larger economic system (and of course, this mythic farmer was also highly vulnerable to markets, prices, and incorporated competition: note that the earliest populist political movements in the US began on farms). In truth, we're all over-specialized these days, and so all over-reliant on the economic system within which we are embedded.

    As for welfare? This will be progressively eroded, in the US (especially with this administration) and abroad, up until that point where things get so bad, and so many people are desperate and out of work, that the meritocratic "self-reliance" arguments lose their hold. This was precisely what happened in the US during the great depression, which saw a transformation from a period of laissez-faire economic expansion and optimism, to FDR's "Great Society" welfare state.
     
  8. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    The future of welfare is doomed. I believe welfare was originally intended to help citizens who were down on their luck. Instead it has morphed into a lifestyle and an industry. As the citizenry gets more conservative (not just the U.S.) this is bound to change. I predict the first thing we will see is the elimination of benefits for non-citizens as immigrants are an easy target.
     
  9. Bion Gems: 21/31
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    Again, I think this isn't just an ideological issue. If the economy is doing well, and people feel secure, they of course resent paying taxes toward welfare. But if the economy really tanks, there comes a point where the demand for government support surpasses the arguments for welfare. Same with job outsourcing. So IMO the future of welfare is dependent on the future of the economy.
     
  10. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    I agree, it is quite important whether the country can support its welfare system. To a degree, that is not just economy, but demography as well - I live in Germany right now and here it seems to be a serious problem that there are too few people in working age to pay the pension benefits for the aged.
    Still, I think welfare is one of the more "moral" introductions of the state. Making sure that even the poorest members of society don't have to starve seems a sign of progress, doesn't it? Well, although it was not intended as a humanitarian idea per se, the welfare state in general has quite a few benefits. Heck, not everyone of us is going to end as a millionnaire, although none of us would mind being one, right? :)
     
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