The Evil of Welfare Statism
Wikipedia defines welfare state as “a concept of government where the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens.” The principles upon which this statist creation was based are equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life. Sounds good!
Don’t human beings have equal opportunity to improve their economic status in life? This principle means that the presence of an agency, which is the government, is necessary in order to ensure that every individual has equal opportunity to almost everything. Like any statist, progressive principle, ‘equality of opportunity’ is a political creature that attempts to breach reality or the metaphysical given. Any breach of reality results in injustice. The only logical result of the full implementation of this statist principle is injustice- injustice to both the talented and those who are endowed with less physical and mental ability.
‘Equitable distribution of wealth’ simply means a benevolent, omnipotent agency, which is the government, has the power and responsibility to take care of the less privileged, the weak, and the disabled by enslaving the productive members of society. It simply means that the government has to steal from productive Juan in order to serve the well-being of incompetent Pedro.
The third principle- ‘public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life’- simply means everybody must be a slave to everybody. Since we are a community, we have the responsibility to be concerned with each other. We must be our brother’s keeper. But who determines ‘public responsibility’? Why should we put the interest and well-being of others above our own? Why are we bound by this ‘public responsibility’ to offer our lives to others in perpetuity?
The morality behind the concept of welfare state is Altruism, which simply means selfless concern with the welfare of others. An act is considered moral when we sacrifice ourselves to others; it is immoral when we act on our self-interest.
American philosopher Ayn Rand clearly defined what’s wrong with welfare statism. She wrote:
“Morally and economically, the welfare state creates an ever accelerating downward pull. Morally, the chance to satisfy demands by force spreads the demands wider and wider, with less and less pretense at justification. Economically, the forced demands of one group create hardships for all others, thus producing an inextricable mixture of actual victims and plain parasites. Since need, not achievement, is held as the criterion of rewards, the government necessarily keeps sacrificing the more productive groups to the less productive, gradually chaining the top level of the economy, then the next level, then the next. (How else are unachieved rewards to be provided?)
“There are two kinds of need involved in this process: the need of the group making demands, which is openly proclaimed and serves as cover for another need, which is never mentioned—the need of the power-seekers, who require a group of dependent favor-recipients in order to rise to power. Altruism feeds the first need, statism feeds the second, Pragmatism blinds everyone—including victims and profiteers—not merely to the deadly nature of the process, but even to the fact that a process is going on.”
Sad to say, America, the first free society on earth founded on the philosophy of Aristotle—that man has inalienable right to his life, liberty, property and his pursuit of happiness— is gradually embracing welfare statism. Under United States President Barack Obama, a number of welfare state programs and policies have been implemented in just a very short period of time. Among these welfare statist policies are the Obama bailout plan, which was based on the ‘too big to fail’ principle, the stimulus package designed to save jobs and ailing companies, and the universal health care that would ensure every American has access to health care. The fundamental question that Obama and his statist/Marxist minions try to evade is: Who will pay for all these government spending and benevolent policies?
The problem with Harvard law graduate Obama and the geniuses around him is that they’re not paying attention to real-world facts. Obama fiddles while America burns. He stubbornly tries to push for his socialist programs while the whole of Europe is paying a high price for embracing statism or socialism. It is now apparent that the United States and the European nations are headed in entirely opposite directions.
There’s no doubt that Obama is trying to copy the European Union social welfare system despite the fact that many of its member countries like Greece, Portugal and Hungary experience growing debt that threatens the viability of the euro. What is clear is that the world is beginning to see the evil of welfare statism, as the European Union members can no longer afford to continue their role as overall providers of almost all the needs of their people.
Take, for example, the case of some leading European countries that perfectly established welfare state system.
•France: The poster-child for euro-socialism is facing a national debt of 1.49 trillion euro, about 77% of its GDP. That doesn’t count the unfunded liabilities of the country’s state pension system, which may exceed 200% of GDP by themselves. Reforming the French welfare system has long been seen as politically impossible, but the fiscal facts have forced the French government to finally propose an increase in the retirement age. The French government is also selling off government-owned land and other property. And the French health care system has gradually been increasing co-payments and other forms of consumer cost-sharing.
•Germany: Every working person in Germany shoulders 43,000 euro ($53,000) in debt. In response, the German government has announced plans to cut more than 80 billion euro in government spending, nearly 3% of GDP, over the next four years. It has already announced 3 billion euro in cuts in this year’s budget, including a reduction in unemployment benefits. The retirement age will be raised from 65 to 67 by 2029. Government universities, previously free, have begun charging tuition.
•Great Britain: England’s national debt is a staggering 90,000 pounds ($133,000) per household. The new government of Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has already announced more than 6 billion pounds in budget cuts. It plans to raise the retirement age under its Social Security system and abolish payments to parents of newborn children. The government also aims to implement U.S.-style welfare reform, including a work requirement for those receiving benefits.
•Italy: Even the notoriously dysfunctional Italian government has been forced to come to terms with a national debt larger than its entire GDP. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has proposed more than 30 billion euro in budget cuts over the next two years, including a billion-euro cut to its national health care system, and a crackdown on fraudulent disability payments. Berlusconi also called for a three-year pay freeze for all government workers.
•Spain: Facing the country’s worst economic crisis in decades, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodiguez-Zapatero has slashed government spending by 15 million euro. Payments to the parents of newborn children were ended, and disability payments cut. The Spanish government also has proposed hiking the retirement age for men from 65 to 67.
Are we ready to emulate the European welfare state model?
Source: USA Today.