The Myth of the 'Welfare State'

"...however wealthy a nation, it cannot carry health, unemployment and pension benefits without massive taxation and overloading the system, reducing the incentive to work and to save and care for one's family - when all look to the state for welfare...Social and health welfare are like opium or heroin. People get addicted, and withdrawal of welfare benefits is very painful." (Quote: Mr. Lee Kuan Yew)

MYTH: Welfare rewards people for doing nothing, destroying their dignity and character. The `Welfare State' is a threat to liberty. Welfare threatens to make all citizens dependent on a central government. The Welfare system gives government too much power. People who work for their own income are more independent. People who are not taxed to support others are more independent. Therefore doing away with the welfare system will promote independence and liberty.

FACT: This argument is not subject to factual analysis. It is basically a matter of philosophy.

The Truth Shall Set You Free: Read Can't? Or won't?


Lucky Tan said…

If we can avoid having a welfare state, I rather we don't go there. In the early 90s, it looked like our model worked quite well - small income gap, little poverty and plenty of dynamism in the economy.

The absence of welfare when income inequality creates poverty and makes poverty a lot more painful. The PAP broke overcame its ideological constrains when they implemented workfare. But the PAP style of doing things - the required recepients to contribute to medisave and low cap ($1500 per yr?) on the amount given makes the scheme a lot less effective.

The govt seems to believe that people are poor and needy due to their own actions and lack of ability. This is one of their ideological pillars - meritocracy. A person's financial state is a function of both the economic system he is in and what he is & does. Income gap for example is primarily the result of economic policies and system. When it is large, you find many pple who are poor who shouldn't be poor if we had adopted another system or another set of policies. We can then argue that the welfare of these people should be undertaken by the state and the segment of society that benefited from these policies. Some time in 2007, Singapore manufactured the most millionaires per capita in the world the same time poverty grew...

The PAP govt keeps passing the responsibility back to the poor, old and sick, ...we can start to see these people as victims of the PAP system ...