According to David Brooks column today the American and European social support structure are more or less equally funded. I do not have the numbers directly at my finger tips—and apparently gauging from the lack of them in his column he didn’t either. ( Or he did, but ignored them because they disproved his thesis) The absurdity of which is to propose that “the U.S. does not have a significantly smaller welfare state than the European nations.” (First of all, David, congratulations on that “welfare state” buzz word insertion.)
Some European governments “offer health care directly”, some just pay for it directly and some have a not-for-profit system with highly regulated structure . All of them pay a lot less for a lot better care/outcomes. He infers is that our health insurance tax structure is welfare. If so it is primarily corporate welfare—for the insurance companies and the employers. Much better healthcare is available without these direct subsidies to the corporations. How do we know—because the rest of the developed world has done it! So subtract those corporate tax breaks from your “welfare” total.
The same is true for the other areas he mentions—childcare, subsidies to industry. The point is rather than his indirect, unfocused tax breaks, mature societies make mature decisions about where to invest and then invest—not “untax” individuals or corporations.
Brooks adds in the money the government doesn’t collect and calls it spending? Really!? What world does he live in? If we collect it and then use it then it is spending. If we don’t collect it, his absurdist $10 billion dollar example notwithstanding, then we are not directing its use for the society.
That is the theory you all want us to buy . The middle of his column does seem to acknowledge that this is just a sham for redirecting money upward. But, surprise, somehow he gives it all another mobius twist and ends up calling for LOWER tax rates, without, of course all those bothersome regulations.
Finally, Reagans tax cuts did not produce any benefits – except, again, for those that didn’t need it. In fact he raised taxes several times primarily on the lower and middle classes to make up for the hole his cuts caused in the economy. His raising of the FICA was and is the largest tax raise ever foisted on the middle class. And now they want that money, too. So much for the right being concerned about true tax reform.