Will Social Spending Cause a Depression?
While welfare programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid did not directly cause the recession, they may be responsible for aggravating the problem. Might they even cause a depression.
What's the Latest Development?
Several European countries face sovereign debt crises while the US tries to nurture a tepid economic recovery. For a slump in its fifth year, no solution has brought swift economic turnaround. And while social spending did not cause the current crisis, it may be to blame for the lack of a recovery, says columnist Robert Samuelson. European governments currently spend 40 percent of revenue on social welfare programs. The US spends a third of its income similarly. Even though these programs have become cherished, they may nonetheless prove too expensive.
What's the Big Idea?
Samuelson compares our current situation to that which preceded the Great Depression, though he is not convinced by all the alleged parallels. Unlike the 1920s, for example, we do not face a global depression thanks to the growth of BRIC countries. To an extent, however, we do face the same exhaustion of economic policy in engineering a recovery. And ultimately, social safety nets at their current levels depend on, “favorable economics and demographics—and both have moved adversely”. These are now deeply ingrained programs, he says, so any recovery will be slow.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.
- Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
- The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
- The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.
- A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
- Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
- New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.