Rik Schneider Online

Saturday, May 3, 2014

American Enterprise Institute: Nicholas Eberstadt- The Government vs. The American Character: The Growth of the Entitlement State


Source: J Lowe-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

I agree with Nicholas Eberstadt on the growth of the entitlement state in America. We use to be a society in which you took care of yourself as much as you could and when you couldn't, your friends, family and private charity helped you get by.  The Great Depression really changed that.  When it once was commonplace for millions of Americans to retire without a pension and be taken care of by their savings and their kids and for nobody to have health insurance, that doesn't work anymore. This so-called Libertarian Utopia pre-Great Depression, (actually never existed for non-Anglo-Saxon-Americans) no longer exists. Private charity is still in business, but for people who fall on hard times and don't have enough savings and friends and family with enough resources to help them get by in the short-term, they have other options. Which is called the public safety net. A public social insurance system that we all pay into and take out from when we need it. 

Our economy has matured.  Healthcare technology is vastly improved, increasing life expectancy, and is much more expensive.  In our capitalist economic system, we have a social insurance for people who hit  rough times. We'll never be a Scandinavian social democracy or any other social democracy, where it's the job of the central government to meet the economic and insurance needs for the people. Instead of those people being able to get those services from the private sector. Things like education, health care, health insurance, day care, pension, etc. And we'll probably never be a Libertarian Society for anyone. Where there is no public safety net and again people are completely dependent on private charity when they fall on hard times. We're in the fact when it comes to the developed world, the third way. A country that has a public safety net for people who need it. But where everyone else is responsible for talking care of themselves. 

In comparison with Canada and Europe, our public social insurance system is very modest. We shouldn't have an insurance system that takes care of everyone because that would incentivize welfare over work and encourage people to not do as much for themselves as they can. All we have is a safety net for people who can't pay their bills and survive any other way. And the way I would reform is, is not by trying to eliminate it or expand it and try to become like Scandinavia or Britain, but instead use it as an empowerment self-inporvment system. Where yes people can get cash assistance and insurance, to meet their short-term needs. But also a system that empowers people to get on their own feet. With things like job training, education, small business loans, and help finding a new job that allows for people to make it on their own. 
J Lowe: The New Deal vs The Great Society