Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

What’s Wrong With a Welfare Nation?

Posted on January 31, 2012 by

At The Atlantic, a post by Alex Tabarrok, “The Innovation Nation vs. the Warfare-Welfare State“, has been making its way around the bloggysphere, in part due to the big shout out to science, as embodied by this figure:

innovation welfarewarfare


We like to think of ourselves as an innovation nation, but our government is a warfare/welfare state. To build an economy for the 21st century we need to increase the rate of innovation and to do that we need to put innovation at the center of our national vision.

Innovation, however, is not a priority of our massive federal government. Nearly two-thirds of the U.S. federal budget, $2.2 trillion annually, is spent on the four biggest warfare and welfare programs, Medicaid, Medicare, Defense and Social Security. In contrast, the National Institutes of Health, which funds medical research, spends $31 billion annually, and the National Science Foundation spends just $7 billion.

I’m all for cutting back on the warfare state–that senitment is as old as the biblical prophets. And spending more money on non-military research is a good thing (and while we’re on the subject, go sign this petition). Regular readers will know I agree with that. But I’m not sure what’s wrong with the so-called welfare programs.

I’m all for controlling healthcare costs and figuring out ways of delivering care more effectively (who could possibly be against these things?).

February 1, 2012 - Posted by | health care | , , ,

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