Stingy state :

One of the most puzzling facts of the political debate in US is how much traction Republicans still get from their calls to cut taxes and public spending. The US has long had one of the most meager tax takes in the industrial world. America’s social spending — on programmes ranging from Medicare and Social Security to food stamps — is almost the stingiest among industrial nations. Among the 30 industrialised countries grouped in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, only four spend less on social programmes as a share of their economy.

The OECD’s definition of social spending includes programmes to help people overcome such challenges as old age, poverty and unemployment. The US has long preferred financing some social goals with tax breaks, such as the deduction for company-provided health insurance or credits for dependent care. After adding in these breaks America still comes out sixth from the bottom in total social spending. Abdicating responsibilities doesn’t make them go away, it just pushes them onto the

individual or the private sector, which often can’t cope with the burden. For US workers, and voters, to accept the increased competition brought on by globalisation, the public sector would have to provide better social insurance than that.