Moral Low Ground


Germans Shocked & Appalled by Lack of Social Safety Net in US

December 30, 2010 by Brett Wilkins in Europe, Rich & Poor with 0 Comments

Camden, NJ: Nothing like this in Germany. (Wikipedia)

Alternet has published an insightful piece by Democrats Ramshield examining the stark societal differences between Germany and the United States, focused mainly on the countries’ social safety nets, or, in the case of America, the lack thereof. Some very interesting facts:

-The European Union spends less on health care than the US but insures practically 100% of its population with universal, cradle-to-grave medical care. The US has 59,000,000 uninsured citizens.

-EU citizens have paid sick leave, paid annual leave and paid maternity leave. Americans can only dream of such things, which they consider luxuries but Europeans think of as basic human rights.

-Unemployment benefits never run out in Germany. Job seekers are also continuously insured– and so are their families. The unemployed in the US receive no medical insurance. “Europeans routinely recoil at that in disbelief and disgust,” writes Ramshield.

-No EU country uses food stamps “in order to humiliate its disadvantaged citizens in the grocery checkout line.”

Ramshield’s piece tells the story of Pam Brown, a former Wall Street executive assistant who once earned $80,000 a year and lived in a six-bedroom home. She’s now out of work and rummages through garbage cans scavenging for food.

“Pam Brown and her children were disturbingly, indeed incomprehensibly, allowed to fall straight to the bottom,” writes Ramshield. “The richest country in the world becomes morally bankrupt when someone like Pam Brown and her children have to pick through trash to eat, abandoned with a callous disregard by the American government. People like Brown have found themselves dispossessed due to the robber baron actions of the Wall Street elite.”

“Isn’t it better to invest in a social safety net than in a large criminal justice system?” asks Ramshield. But nobody seems to be listening.

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