Many people, especially those of the post-welfare generation, believe that welfare is a dated system, and a problem that needs to be solved. What they don’t think about is that, perhaps it is not welfare, but rather poverty that is the problem. Most people don’t realize that they themselves enjoy a host of hidden government subsidies. For example, the tax deduction on mortgages, enjoyed by many wealthy citizens is far more of a handout then what is actually spent on public housing. Yet public housing comes attached with a stigma, while the subsidy is viewed as an entitlement.
When the welfare state was set up in the wake of the great depression, it was divided into two channels: social insurance programs made available as entitlements and public assistance programs made available as welfare. The social, racial and gender division within these programs is quite clear, and although it may seem like the upper middle class can support itself, many corporations and rich citizens take advantage of the welfare system themselves.
A great example this is Walmart. Walmart is the largest employer and it’s six heirs are worth more than $100 billion, a worth which is more than the bottom 40% of Americans combined. The everyday low wages Walmart pays means that it’s employees are dependent on the government for federal aid. As a matter of fact, the Walmart work force represents the largest recipient of federal aid in the nation.
John Jenneth Galbraith, an economist and diplomat in the 1950s called this plague of social inequality the affluent society. He declared that the management of modern economy by the affluent for the affluent will fail, and that it is from the state alone that effective action against poverty can come.
In this day in age,it’s in the economic powerhouses of the global south, rather than in the liberal democracies of the the North Atlantic, that Galbraith’s conclusion is finding support.
Countries such as Mexico, Brazil and India are all installing social systems meant to support the poor class.
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|Kenneth G. Marks has been practicing personal injury law since he was admitted to the California Bar in 1981. www.KmarksLaw.com|