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Obamacare is a typically American concoction: a complicated program jerry-rigged to appeal to people with little faith in government. The result is a self-fulfilling prophecy -- a messy government system that only fuels deeper cynicism about the welfare state.
Although the common wisdom is that Germany's success is the hard-won reward for strict economic management, the country owes much of its good fortune to the eurozone crisis. Immigrants and investors’ cash are flowing into the country from the rest of Europe, in order to escape the dire conditions that Merkel and EU technocrats helped create through their hard-line focus on austerity, structural reforms, and price stability.
The amount of resources the American public and private sectors commit to all forms of welfare is massive -- the fifth highest outlay in the world. Yet the American way of distributing that money does less to reduce poverty and inequality than that of virtually any other rich democracy. The United States can, and should, reform its welfare state, and it does not need to resort to European style socialism to do so.