Redistributive Welfare Isn’t Always Redistributive

I’m amazed this isn’t known and discussed more broadly:

[In Australia] the poorest 20 per cent of the population receives nearly 42 per cent of all the money spent on social security; the richest 20 per cent receives only around 3 per cent. As a result, the poorest fifth receives twelve times as much in social benefits as the richest fifth, while in the United States the poorest get about one and a half times as much as the richest. At the furthest extreme are countries like Greece, where the rich are paid twice as much in benefits as the poorest 20 per cent, and Mexico and Turkey, where the rich receive five to ten times as much as the poor.

You can have arguments about whether the welfare state should exist, but if it does, it should be geared toward helping the poorest first (right?!).

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One response to “Redistributive Welfare Isn’t Always Redistributive

  1. dave heasman

    Well, part of this might be old-age pensions. Incredibly poor people don’t live long enough to get them.
    Also it might be really hard for people who’ve never worked officially to get unemployment relief, while lower-middle-class clerks etc who’ve been laid off from official jobs might qualify.
    Likewise for invalidity benefits etc, if you’ve never worked officially you might not get them.

    But I’m only guessing, and yes, you’re right, it shouldn’t be that way.