Governments Creating Welfare Programs To Aid People


This weekend I read an article that concentrated on a most topical issue.

What role should government play in the lives of individuals?

Not only is the topic one that seems to define a portion of the presidential campaign, but the matter is front and center among the economic powerhouses of Asia.

My view is that a nation which invests in the betterment and future  of its citizenry will allow for a more dynamic and productive country.  That should not be a startling statement, and with history as our guide, should even sound overly simplistic.  Yet, given the wild-eyed reaction from conservatives about government spending some might think my statement comes with a little red book held close to my chest.

What heartened me about this issue is the approach many of the Asian governments are taking with the creation and expansion of the welfare state.  Asia has made  grand profits for decades through the expansion of goods and services, and now the people are demanding services ranging from health care, pensions, and minimum wages.

And why shouldn’t they want such benefits and programs?

Instead of turning a blind eye, or pretending that government can not take care of its own, nation after nation throughout Asia has started to create and grow welfare programs.

Last October Indonesia’s parliament passed a law pledging to provide health insurance to all of the country’s 240m citizens from January 1st 2014. One government agency will collect premiums and foot the bills, making it the biggest single-payer system in the world.   The same law also committed the government to extend pensions, death benefits and worker-accident insurance to the nation by July 2015.

In the Philippines, 85% of the population are now members of PhilHealth, the government-owned health insurer, compared with 62% in 2010. China’s rural health-insurance scheme, which in 2003 covered 3% of the eligible population, now covers 97.5%, according to official statistics. India has also extended (albeit modest) health insurance to roughly 110m people, more than twice the number of the uninsured Americans whose plight motivated Obamacare.

As The Economist noted it is essential that these nations construct workable plans that take into account aging cycles and ensure debt is not created.  Sensible and sustainable programs can be created, and as the article noted it may be Asia that shows the rest of the world how social welfare programs can work.

4 thoughts on “Governments Creating Welfare Programs To Aid People

  1. Alinka

    Excellent point. Many things : Social Security, Medicare, Workmans Comp, minimum wage, health and safety standards, The Federal Deposit Insurance, Environmental Protection Agency, Disease Control, Education and Health Departments, Labor Unions, workers’ rights and welfare were created because, contrary to what some republicans believe, church and private charities can not take care of the needs on a scale that’s required for a society to be considered truly developed and advanced,to really be The First World league.

    Pathetic, in terms of affordability, condition of healthcare in USA is truly embarrassing.I grew up in Soviet Union, healthcare was free for all, and I can testify, experientially, that for society as a whole, it’s better to have a worse level of healthcare,yet affordable and available for everyone than an excellent ,state of the art healthcare, but only for a selected few.Quality of healthcare in general is subjective (modern medicine will appear as primitive to future generations as breakthrough advancements of previous centuries like using leeches and mercury appear to us ) and matters not as much as availability of it ,

    Just like its better to have modest, but affordable housing for all, than a few supermansions for elite, when the rest of the country lives in slums.

    Lastly, if people didn’t fight for it, 4 -5 year olds would still be working at factories, people maimed on the job would be thrown out on the street, companies would own everything in small towns, making workers living there, essentually, slaves, in every aspect. Sad that Asian governments get it, yet half of american political forces still live in 1912…..

  2. Patrick

    I don’t think that you understand conservatives or conservatism at all. Either that, or you are so in love with your straw men that you can no longer look at the situation honestly. No conservative of any note has suggested that we should not provide for the needs of the poor.

    Conservatives, being realists, look at the current state of things and wonder if fiscal disaster in on the horizon. While we love the idea of a nation ready and able to support its most needy citizens, we are concerned about the continued ability to do so as the national debt–regardless of who is responsible for building it–surpasses 16 trillion dollars. Meanwhile, we watch the baby-boomer generation move out of production and into retirement, noting that there will be ever fewer citizens to support them. We see an economy where shocking numbers of people are not working–especially amid the african american community, for example. These factors and others deeply concern us, yet we have a president who believes that merely taxing the rich–if by rich you mean those making 250k, that is–all these problems will be solved. We know that if government were to confiscate all the earnings of these people, it would have no noticable impact on the debt or deficit. While the left never wants to address these concerns, except to tell us not to worry, as adults in the national discussion we know that hard decisions need to be made.

    As conservatives we are bound to look at the fate of other countries which have similar debt loads per-capita and worry. We are not anxious to strip anyone of support, but we worry we are creating a situation in which we might not be able to support anyone. Reason tells us that the current state of spending cannot continue.

    As for asia…good. But lets be realistic and note that the people of asia still live in squalor and sickness and poverty far, far more often than Americans do. Not many of the asian poor can relax in the air contitioning and play xbox on a flat screen. Its nice to say that these countries have these programs, but what do they really amount to? Does anyone really think that China’s rural insurance program provides anything more than the ultimate basics? One can only hope that they learn from our mistakes. Even the Economist (an ironic title for that rag if you ask me) notes: “it is essential that these nations construct workable plans that take into account aging cycles and ensure debt is not created.” These are two things we have not been able to do.

    Alinka could not be more misguided. I find her memories of Soviet healthcare to be terrifying. The idea that everyone should suffer equally in terrible healthcare systems is repugnant to anyone raised in freedom and not surfdom. Healthcare is not at all subjective, and the eastern-block is only a model of backwardness and moral decay. Everyone is well aware of why the soviet union and other communist countries collapsed.

  3. The fact is conservatives have hated programs like Social Security and Medicare in this nation from their inception. The negative reaction to those two programs from the very beginning, as an example, had far less to do with fiscal matters than a philosophical view that government should not he undertaking such a role in society. It is nice how you make it sound as if all your concerns are rooted in economics, but the fact is that conservatives just have an entire different view about the role of government. A role that has not had as much leverage in this nation as they would have wished.

    Many nations in Asia are booming, and have been creating jobs and exports for a very long time. They only need to be evaluated and compared with their own past history. It is not fair, as an example, to match rural Chinese health care to ours, but it is fair to weigh how much their health care has improved in the last 15 years. That is the measure that counts.

    With growing economies the people of various nations are now demanding, and using their political clout to have the profits turned inward and used for the betterment of society. That is how it should be.

    I suspect conservatives would rather have all the profits returned to the business owners and let it all somehow trickle down. But we know that is not what happens, and the rich only accumulate it, and grow richer. The poor remain poor.

    Entitlements and the reforms to make them stronger and more sustainable in the U.S. and Europe are continuing works in progress. No program ever starts out perfect, but that is not a reason not to begin. While conservatives might still argue about the role of government, they cannot argue these welfare programs have not worked for the betterment of society.

    Finally, The Economist is considered by almost any objective measure one of the best written, and factually correct weekly publications printed anywhere in the world. I can honestly say I have never heard anyone call it ‘a rag”. If that is your term for this magazine I cannot even imagine what you call The New York Post, or Newsweek!

    And I cannot believe I even used those two in comparison to The Economist.

  4. Alinka

    Patrick, your reiteration of Rush Limbaugh talking points is boring, haphazardly thrown together, and honestly quite a logical mess.

    I am a financial conservative myself, and a huge fan of constitutional scholar and radio host Mark Levin, as well. Yet I disagree with the idea that oppressing poor and middle class is a good way for a productive society to live. I am a proud USA citizen and will vote democratic, unless convinced otherwise.I didn’t say that healthcare in Soviet Union was terrible. Quite the contrary!

    Americans now, on average have worse health and worse access to medicine then we did back then. American healthcare system is really bad and terribly expensive. It is unsustainable in its current form and actually WORSE than what the SU had. I am glad I need nothing but preventative care so far, thank God. We had doctors making home visits in SU, and still do in Russia! You drag a poor sick toddler to the urgent care…. And what does communism and such have to so with a topic at hand, healthcare?

    You make little sense, Sir, sorry. I would like to understand your point, but you have to make it logical, explain a thing at a time, and be intellectually honest.

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