Is the Welfare State obsolete?
The welfare state was first introduced by William Beveridge, in an effort to overcome hindrances to the rehabilitation of society after the war, by providing social security, free education, health service, housing and employment (GCSE Bitesize, 2014). Despite the criticism this government concept has received over the decades, it is argued that welfare state is currently in existence and not obsolete.
Long since its first introduction in Britain, developed countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden and the United States, to name a few, have adopted and adjusted this concept according to their nation’s needs. These nations define the welfare state in various ways – from being a typical structure of provision, to further defining who provides for these provision, whether the state or a combination of the nation’s government or individual and public services (Spicker, n.d.). Despite its various meanings, its common aim is to provide a nation’s people (who lack the means to financially provide for themselves) with assistance in times of need and to bridge the gap between classes (Meijer, 2008).
For as long as a government’s social programs are in place, welfare states exist. The current Obama administration, for example, aims to stabilize the welfare state as opposed to instituting reform. In Obama’s vision of the welfare state, the gap between rich and poor is bridged by requiring the rich to pay more (progressive tax system) to enable all other classes to receive more. There would also be more investments on infrastructure, and focus on basic research and job training (Brooks, 2012). The US Government continue to aid its people with social insurance program (includes retirement planning, public assistance programs based on the needs of an individual, and general assistance to help the poor), health services (Medicare and Medicaid), food and shelter programs (food stamps, housing assistance) and various publicly-funded social welfare programs (programs focused on child welfare and education, employment and training programs) (Marx, n.d.).
Should Same Sex Marriage be a Constitutional Right?
Marriage is a right exercised by two consenting adults and can be further defined with three aspects: civil rights aspect (eligibility to receive government benefits), expressive aspect (statement of commitment and love for each other in front of witnesses) and the religious aspect (regardless of religion) (Nussbaum, 2009). The Government is involved in all three aspects. Issuance of the marriage license by the state is tantamount to approval of two people getting married, and non-issuance as disapproval. It is argued that marrying two people of the same sex should not be a constitutional right.
The Constitution guarantees equality in terms of protection and treatment but not in the case of same sex marriage. It defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman resulting to procreation (Eastman, 2013). In line with this, same sex marriage, not being a means for natural procreation, is not covered under the protection of the Constitution, since it denies the actual purpose of a marriage. Allowing same-sex marriage to be a Constitutional right weakens marriage as an institution (Opposing Viewpoints, 2012). Another reason is the fact that these kinds of unions do not create a healthy, normal and stable environment to bring up a child. The State is dependent on traditional marriages to perpetuate the nation and to strengthen society as a whole (TFP Student Action, 2014). Therefore, legalizing same sex marriage does not act in the best interest of the State and thus should not be bestowed the same benefits given to traditional marriages.
GCSE Bitesize. (2014). History: The Welfare State. The BBC. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/history/mwh/britain/welfarestaterev1.shtml
Spicker, P. (2014). An Introduction to Social Policy. The Robert Gordon University. Retrieved from http://www2.rgu.ac.uk/publicpolicy/introduction/introf.htm
Meijer, E. (2008). The Welfare State, the European Union and the Future. Transform. 03.2008. http://transform-network.net/journal/issue-032008/news/detail/Journal/the-welfare-state-the-european-union-and-the-future.html
Brooks, D. (2012). What Republicans Think. The New York Times. Retrieved from
Marx, J. (2013). Current Issues and Programs in Social Welfare. The Social Welfare History Project. Retrieved from http://www.socialwelfarehistory.com/recollections/current-issues-and-programs-in-social-welfare/
Nussbaum, M. (2009). A Right to Marry? Same-sex Marriage and Constitutional Law. Dissent a Quarterly of Politics and Culture. Retrieved from http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/a-right-to-marry-same-sex-marriage-and-constitutional-law
Eastman, J. (2013, January). The Constitutionality of Traditional Marriage. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/01/the-constitutionality-of-traditional-marriage
Same Sex Marriage. Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Retrieved from http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/ReferenceDetailsPage/DocumentToolsPortletWindow?displayGroupName=Reference&jsid=ccb50c8dbf278492f60903438fa0bb91&action=2&catId=GALE%7C00000000LVYW&documentId=GALE%7CPC3010999168&u=psucic&zid=6c805ff07c98c5faa91a7623f463e515
TFP Student Action. (2014). 10 Reasons why Homosexual “Marriage” is Harmful and Must be Opposed. TFP Student Action. Retrieved from http://www.tfpstudentaction.org/politically-incorrect/homosexuality/10-reasons-why-homosexual-marriage-is-harmful-and-must-be-opposed.html