The United States: The Reluctant Welfare State

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The United States is often referred to as a ‘reluctant welfare state.’ There are various reasons for this description. One of the primary reasons for this is the differences and diversity of the political parties which are the motivating forces that control government. The Liberal Party, for instance supports government safety nets and social service programs for those in need. “Liberals believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all.” ("Studentnews," 2006) They believe it is the responsibility of government to ensure that the needs of all citizens are met, and to intervene to solve problems. The responsibility of government is to alleviate social ills, to protect civil liberties and sustain individual and human rights. Liberals support most social and human service programs; such as TANF, including long-term welfare, housing programs, government regulated health care, Medicare, Medicaid, social security, and educational funding. Their goal is to create programs that promote equal opportunity regardless of gender, age, race, orientation, nationality or religion, along with many others. Liberals believe that government participation is essential and a means to bring about fairness and justice to the American way of life.

Conservatives, on the contrary believe that public social welfare services should be funded and controlled by the public. They believe in personal responsibility, limited government; in fact the lowest decentralized level of government that is possible. Conservatives deem that decision-making at the level of the individual states is preferable to federal supervision. “Conservatives are less inclined to support widespread entitlement programs which provide for the welfa...

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...ted. The United States must relinquish this title of a reluctant welfare state, and move toward social justice with a government that understands the importance of equal rights, benefits and services for all.

Works Cited

Blau, J. (2004). The dynamics of social welfare policy. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc.

Studentnewsdaily. (n.d.). Conservative vs. liberal beliefs. (2006). Retrieved from

Jansson, B. (2009). The reluctant welfare state. Belmont CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning. (n.d.). New York medicaid. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Administration for children and families: about TANF. Retrieved from
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