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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press NYT Can't Resist Editorializing Against the European Welfare State in Its News Section

NYT Can't Resist Editorializing Against the European Welfare State in Its News Section

Tuesday, 30 October 2012 05:03

The NYT has apparently designed to join the crusade against the European welfare state. A profile of German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted that Europe accounts for 25 percent of world GDP, but a "staggering" 50 percent of social spending.

There is nothing obviously out of line in this story. Poor countries don't have much by way of social spending. In the United States, benefits like health care and pension coverage are largely provided through employers. Europe has adopted a much more efficient route of providing these benefits through the government. There is no obvious problem with going this route from an economic standpoint.

The NYT should have found a reporter who could discuss such issues without being staggered by them.

Comments (4)Add Comment
Socialist Spending is In the Eyes of the Beholder
written by Robert Salzberg, October 30, 2012 6:44
Europe has 8-9% of the world's population but accounts for about 50% of the world's 'social spending'.

America has 5% of the world's population but spends about 40% of the world's total military spending.

Which do you think is the more constructive use of taxpayer dollars?

Most of the Northeast of the U.S. has been declared a federal disaster area and will qualify for social spending through FEMA which in not counted towards our 'social spending'.

The child tax credit, the home mortgage deduction and the too big to fail guarantee for our nation's banks, etc. are also in reality social spending that won't be counted as social spending.

So Europe on average spends about twice what the rest of the world does on defined social safety net programs. The people of Europe have decided what they want from government and are paying taxes to get it. Good for them.

In the U.S. and the rest of the world, we're half as good at providing for the basic needs of our people as Europe based on 'social spending'. Is that really a problem for Europe or for us/U.S./everybody but Europe?
social spending
written by mel in oregon, October 30, 2012 1:27
when you look at the tea party agenda, you see that according to them, the government is the enemy. yet with more of a social agenda in scandanavia, france & germany, they live far better than americans do. they live longer, have much more free time, have free education & medical care, & don't deny evolution or global warming. too big to fail bank bailouts was a transfer of capital from working class americans to the wealthy, nothing more. that wan't social spending, neither is the mortgage deduction. the democrats are moving to the far right gradually, swept along by the increasing conservatism of american corporations, their toadies in government controlled by business lobbyists. so what the government is whether it's called fascist or not is a repeat of 1920-30s italian government whereby the main business of government is to cater to big business. so why is grover norquist unhappy with government? it's following his ayn rand/milton friedman agenda to a tee.
Fan of Robert Salzberg
written by Nick Batzdorf, October 30, 2012 3:25
Well put, Robert Salzberg. Please send that to the NYT!
Big Corporate Welfare Supporters
written by FoonTheElder, November 06, 2012 12:20
They hate the social welfare state because they are cheerleaders for the big corporate welfare state.

They don't tend to see the logic in welfare for people who need it, but have no problem with welfare for the wealthy and big corporations who don't need it.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.