Originally Posted by samclem
And the public sentiment in favor of contributing to charity is much lower than in the US. In general, citizens of countries with high government safety nets believe their taxes take care of their obligations to materially provide for the poor.
The main argument used against more local control of welfare systems is the fear of a "race to the bottom." According to this argument, if poor people can migrate to where public welfare benefits are the highest, states which provide higher benefits will be swamped by the indigent. States will be in a race to reduce benefits to induce the poor to go somewhere else.
This makes sense in theory, but I don't know if it works in the real world. The gradient would probably need to be fairly steep to get folks to move.
Actually, this has been going on for at least since the inception of The Great Society. It is most clear where only a political boundary separates two states with radically different approaches. Producers tend to congregate on the low benefit side, the poor and various forms of crime are mainly found on the other. This is even more striking when the two states have quite different approaches to criminal justice.