America’s Terrible Welfare State

In the United States, a nation not known for high spending as a percentage of GDP on social welfare, you can find a place with free food, quality housing, decent health care, debt-free education, matching uniforms as well as work: the state and federal penitentiary.

$2.287 trillion was spent on social programs in the United State, both federal and state, for social programs (http://budget.house.gov/uploadedfiles/rectortestimony04172012.pdf). While state spending on “correcting” over 2 million people is $48.5 billion (http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/scefy8210.pdf), only a paltry 2% of the welfare pie, the federal governments spends an additional $5.6 billion imprisoning 218,000 people. Combined this may only be 2.37% of social spending, but it would surely shore up our social welfare system even before implementing tax hikes on the obscenely wealthy, large corporations, or cutting military spending.

There are 218,000 men and women in federal prisons (http://www.urban.org/uploadedpdf/412693-the-growth-and-increasing-cost-of-the-federal-prison-system.pdf

As a society I believe we must ask ourselves if we can lock people up and dedicate millions of man hours to watching “criminals” who are housed, fed, medicated, educated, and slavishly employed, why then when they are released for their “crimes” can they not find housing, food, medical care, schooling or a job to pay for the listed necessities? It’s much like Tony Benn’s quote on WW2 ending the depression in Britain and the US. If men and women can be put to work for destruction, ought we be able to put men and women to work for the construction of a society with housing, food, schools, and hospitals for all?

A good link: http://money.cnn.com/infographic/economy/education-vs-prison-costs/

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