I think beyond the welfare state, is the perfect title of this piece because that’s exactly what this is about. I would like to move past the welfare state and actually not even see it exist in America. But before you do that I think I should clear something up. We do not have a welfare state in America for lots of reasons. We have a safety-net which is different and a safety net is there for people who for whatever reasons aren’t able to fully take care of themselves for some point in time.
Like being unemployed or aren’t able to afford health insurance to use as examples. Or do not have a big enough retirement which would be another example. That’s what we have in America and chances are we will always have that which is good in a private enterprise system. Where success and failure are never guaranteed. But a welfare state is a whole host of programs that are designed to literally take care of people for an indefinite amount of time. And the only thing you need to qualify for these programs is to be alive and living in that country. And they are there so people do not have to make these decisions for themselves how to obtain basic human services.
Safety net is what we have in America and perhaps Canada and Germany as well. The welfare state is what’s common in Europe especially in Britain, Scandinavia, France, Greece to use as examples. Which is what Social Democrats want to bring to America and argue that people have too much choice and personal responsibility. And with business’s that have profit motive they believe we need to cut back on these choices and responsibility and take some of these pressures off of the individual. And have these services performed by government which isn’t in the business to make a profit.
Safety net I’m in favor of as long as we do not have on big centralized government managing all of these programs for the entire country and we allow for the states and localities to take up some of these responsibilities for running these programs. And that they are designed to empower people to get themselves on their feet rather than government taking care of them indefinitely.
And where I differ from let’s say Social Democrats who do believe in the welfare state and want that in America and would like a more centralized Federal Government with a whole host of new Federal social programs, is that I want people to have as much freedom to be able to take care of themselves and only need government for the minimum of services.
Like protection from criminals and people who would take advantage of them in the economy. So regulators not to run business’s but to protect consumers and workers from people who would try to make a profit by hurting innocent people and then if they need that safety net because they lose their job or something. Then they collect from it like you would collect from social insurance so you can pay your bills in the short-term as you are preparing yourself to go back to work with a good job and be independent. And this is what government’s job in a liberal democracy is to protect freedom and empower people to get freedom but not try to run our lives for us.
That’s what I believe in as a Liberal when it comes to economic policy. And a couple of things I want to see the public invest more in when it comes to the economy would be in education and job training so no longer would anyone be forced to live in poverty and live off of public assistance. Because they didn’t have access to get themselves the skills that they need to live in freedom. Social insurance would be the best way to describe my politics when it comes to the safety net. Rather than the safety net that you collect these social insurance when you need them. And that they also empower you be getting on your feet but they aren’t there to take care of you indefinitely. But empower you to be able to take care of yourself and that’s what my alternative to the welfare state is.