US Welfare State vs Everywhere Else

An overview comparing the US safety net to other countries:

“Of course. They are the definition of social services. In rest of the western world:

  • Health care is universal[1] , they don’t have age cut offs like Medicare, or ‘means test’ like Medicaid.
  • Retirement Benefit
    • Public Pensions (i.e. social security) are more generous.[4]
    • Mixed and/or Semi-private pension are heavily regulated and often mandated by law.
  • Food and shelter benefits (i.e. food stamps, section 8 housing, work-for-welfare) are more generous.[5]
    • They don’t earmark certain benefits for food – for better or worse, it is straight cash benefit.
    • Most US states have dropped any and all cash benefit for non-families, only offering temporary help for families[6] .
    • Those that still have one, require work.[7]
  • Public housing is usually well-maintained, safer, etc. relative to the US.
    • I’ve seen Canadian public housing, and its nicer than my first few apartments. (If you watch DW, Rose lived in a ‘council flat’, to give you an idea for the UK.)
    • US public housing complexes are barely maintained, underfunded, overcrowded, crime ridden, drug infested hell holes.
  • Vastly more generous unemployment benefit.[8]
    • The duration sometimes upward of 2-3 year.
    • Not subject to legislative whims or the duration of benefits contingent on the unemployment rate, like here.
  • Home health visits are often universally available.
  • Childcare
    • Universal home health and readiness visits for of pregnant mothers. (France[9] , Scandinavia[10] )
    • Inexpensive municipal day care (France[11] , Scandinavia[12] )
    • Tax breaks for families employing in-home child care workers (France[13]
    • Universal free preschool.
    • Universal paid maternity leave for both men and woman.[14]
  • Vacation time is vastly larger,[15] and mandated by law.

These examples are not always the case everywhere, tho, to be clear, the West is a big place. Countries are big places. A countries services or regional services may vary[16] , in scope, quality, etc. On average tho, this is mostly correct. Surveys of social services in most Europe are almost universally positive.

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