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The history and future of "Social Welfare" and "Democracy"

Updated on May 26, 2015

Welfare Lines

Our history is filled with the need for Welfare Assistance for millions of Americans through no fault of their own
Our history is filled with the need for Welfare Assistance for millions of Americans through no fault of their own | Source

Social Welfare

Webster's Dictionary defines 'social welfare' as a noun meaning "organized public, or private, social services for the assistance of disadvantaged groups".

Although this definition is true, it is more complex and far broader reaching than this over simplification implies.

Social Reform Program

The "Social Reform Programs" encompass any of a variety of governmental programs designed to protect citizens from the risks of the insecurities of economic life.

The most commonly found types of the social reform programs provide benefits to the elderly, the sick or invalid, dependent survivors, mothers, the unemployed, the work injured, and families.

The earliest modern social welfare laws were enacted in Germany in the 1880's.

In the United States a foundation of minimum protections has come to be viewed as one of government's general responsibilities.

With respect to "specific" risks in many countries, the consensus holds that public responsibility extends to all of those unable to care for themselves for whatever reason.

In this view social welfare is extended and received as a matter of right rather than need.

Social Services

Efforts to organize private charity, and place it on an institutional basis, date back to the "Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601".

In the 19th century Great Britain, Germany and the United States further developed that basic concept. Among the many forms that social welfare services may take, the following are the most commonly encountered today.

  • Family Welfare (marriage counseling, maternal care, family planning, family life and home economics education, home help services, etc..)
  • Child Welfare (the largest and most widely implemented areas of social service that includes maternal and child health-care, protection for unwed mothers and their children, abused and neglected children, day care and foster parent care, etc..)
  • Groups Welfare (include programs directed toward immigrants, migrants, transients, minority groups, the handicapped, military personnel, veterans, disaster relief, medical and psychiatric treatment, elder care, etc...)

Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit?

Social Security

This was a program to protect individuals and their families from income loss due to unemployment, old age, sickness or death, and to improve their welfare through public services (social insurance programs, health and welfare services such as medicare and medicaid).

In the past, welfare provisions were the responsibility of the individual and the family which were often not enough to sustain life. Then churches began to open channels for distributing aid.

Gradually more organized methods for such provisions developed: (working men's associations, mutual benefits societies, trade unions, etc..).

Eventually these services were established by law, in well developed industrial countries with large portions of the population being employed.

Social Security Act

As a result of the Great Depression in the early 1930s, 5,000,000 (five million) people joined together in a nationwide effort [known as Townsend Clubs, that was promoted by Francis E. Townsend] to support his program demanding a $200.00 monthly pension for everyone over the age of 60.

In 1934 President F.D. Roosevelt set up a committee to study 'Economic Security' to consider the matter and offer recommendations.

In 1935 the U.S.congress enacted legislation that established a permanent national old age pension system entitled the "Social Security Act" to be completely financed by a payroll tax on employers and employees (Railroad employers were exempted and covered under the "Railroad Retirement Act of 1934)

Over the years, adjustments were periodically made by progressively bringing more workers into the system and adjusting both taxes and benefits in an attempt to keep pace with inflation.

The main reason for this type of payroll tax was to make sure it was independent of the annual budget expenditures, and did not impact the economy is any fashion.

Social Democracy

A political ideology that advocates a peaceful, evolutionary transition of society from Capitalism to Socialism using established political processes.

Because 'Socialism' (as viewed by Karl Marx, and others, was seen by most people as having common ideological roots with 'Communism', it was rejected by the majority as something "evil".

Karl Marx saw Capitalism as doomed; and that the ultimate subjugation of the working people would inevitably lead to a socialist revolution.

German political theorist, Eduard Bernstein (in 1899) challenged the Marx prediction that capitalism was doomed, by pointing out that it {Capitalism} was overcoming many of its weaknesses, such as unemployment, overproduction, and the disparate distribution of wealth.

He further added that ownership of industry was becoming more widely diffused rather than more concentrated in the hands of a few.

This prediction could not have been more wrong as we see the rapid growth of huge monopolies and the rampant greed and lust for power all around us today.


There is no doubt that Capitalism has run amok with its obsessive take over of Corporate America and fueled by insatiable greed for monetary superiority, and lust for power.

This hedonism embraced by a small percentage of our population has turned Capitalism into something loathsome to be reviled and railed against.

This small controlling faction sees Democracy (government by the people; and the rule of the majority) as their enemy.

They deliberately confuse people by overstating, and over exaggerating, the misconceptions that 'Democracy' is the same as 'Social Democracy'. When in fact they have nothing to do with each other.

Unfortunately most people do not understand those differences. This misunderstanding causes them fear and trepidation, that misguidedly leads to siding with the Aristocracy that has taken over our lives.

Attacks on our Democracy


In order for this country (USA) to survive and thrive, Democracy must be restored and preserved as was originally intended when this country was founded - not what it has become today. The balance of power must be removed from the Aristocrats and returned to the people.

Sadly, in order to do this, there must be new laws passed to reverse today's trends before it totally destroys the very fabric of this great nation.

Restoration will not be an easy task when those who write and pass the laws are now the very same aristocrats who must be over thrown. We have reached the brink of stepping off the cliff to reach that proverbial event horizon that may literally be inescapable.

If, or when, the USA collapses because of the Greed and Avarice of a few, the rest of the world will suffer as well.

We are losing the "Social Welfare" programs put in place to protect the American people from the devastating effects of adversities beyond their control, leaving no safety nets for the majority of the people.

But what of Democracy? Will this also be lost to history as is being done to "Social Welfare"?

Who will stop the Aristocracy from completely over powering our great Democracy?

There is no Great White Savior to save us from the inevitable.

God knows that a "minority" President trying desperately to change this corrupt system, must be stopped by the "Capitalists", and our current "do nothing congress", from doing so at any cost to the individual America citizen, or to society itself.

by: d. william 07/13/2014

History of Bills actually passed by Congress



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    • d.william profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      As a blanket response to the comments that have not been addressed individually, i offer my apologies for the delay in responding. I have not been active on this site for almost a year as other priorities have overshadowed my participation in the H.P. community.

      The main purpose of this article was not to "put anyone down", it was meant as a look at the history and probable future of our government systems/policies regarding 'social welfare' and 'democracy' itself if current trends in politics are not countermanded by public demand.

      We can twist the meanings of each of these words around in any fashion to try to make a point for getting rid of their 'influences' over the individuals who find them to be a problem.

      To more fully understand why these institutions are being challenged we must first look at those who are pushing for their demise, and their reasons for doing so.

      The concepts of contradiction by those who have a hidden agenda as well of those who have little knowledge of how and why these institutions came into existence in the first place cannot be discarded simply because one party does, or does not, agree with their basic concepts, for

      whatever reason they feel they must.

      The underlying problem is NOT with social welfare or democracy as they were intended to serve the American people, but rather with the rise of the worst most egregious assaults on the American public by a few (not so good) men. It is addressed in my article :

      When the GOP along with the SCOTUS moved to protect the wealthiest of our citizens by throwing the rest of the people under the bus, we lost much of our freedoms to the like of NRA, the obstructionism of the tea party congress who offers no solutions to the problems at hand, and the to the current greed/avarice of the people who serve us in congress today. These people are uneducated and are more self serving than public minded.

      It is not logical to challenge any policy without at least offering an alternative.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      4 years ago from California

      Interesting that you advocate more laws at a time when lawlessness is becoming the norm. Several cities in our area no longer even respond to burglaries unless there is a gun involved. We are not talking about Podunk, we are talking about the Silicon Valley.

    • IndependentMind profile image


      4 years ago

      Great article. Well written and well presented.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I stand corrected. I need to wait for responses. Appearances got me.

      But nonetheless railing against the goblins of Tea Party and GOP leaves many of us amused. I am not a Republican or a Tea Partier - nor a Democrat. I just see a complete lack of understanding as to what Capitalism is all about, however. Vilification without an iota of support. The smear. I think your article is weak at best, without little substance. Why is free trade the great no-no to you? And socialism or slavery by majority rule (Democracy) okay? Blank out.

      I see your supporters alleged that we throw definitions around. Semantics? Really? What is Democracy - really? The US was never a 'Democracy' this is a new term. It means what it means. Rule by Majority. Rule as in Ruler. I prefer not to be ruled. Any other 'definition' is a myth.

      And the idea of American Shame. Please. I'm glad that some few have stopped the railroad of 'democracy.' It works, that way. It's called a balance of power. Republic and Democracy are different animals.

    • d.william profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Somewhere in the south


      Bravo. Thanks so much for your addition to this article. I could not have replied this well, and in such an eloquent manner.

      Sadly the likes of Bachman, Palin, Limbaugh, Rick Perry, et al, have become the new face of the GOP and have moved this country backwards by their lack of common sense and common knowledge.

      The tea party has done more damage to progression than any other negative influences in our history.

    • profile image


      4 years ago


      Know that "restore the Constitution" is the current buzz phrase of the Tea Party as are claims the we do not live in a democracy, but rather a republic.

      And know that people throw words around (constitution, republic, federal) without much authentic sense of their meaning---particularly their historic meaning as they informed the Founding Fathers.

      And know that they have no real knowledge of US history; no real sense of the fact, for example, that the United States---governed by the US Constitution was not born from any revolution, but in fact, from any effort to save the "united states of America" (capitalization is purposeful and historically accurate) from the Articles of Confederation (the government adopted by the "states" in the wake of the American Revolutionary War), or in fact, from the disaster of the very kind of government that contemporary Tea Party rank and file are made to believe is the salvation of some imagined United States---one that never existed.

      But alas, what do I know?

      And now, folks, your onslaught of mockery and name-calling because historical reality is not consistent with your political mythologies.

    • d.william profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Somewhere in the south


      Please read the above comments to jgshorebird. That is a "ditto" to you as well. Your comments reflect the views of the extreme right wing TeaParty mentality.

    • d.william profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Somewhere in the south


      sorry my replies were not fast enough for you. Sarcasm and insults never are conducive to any further discussion. I allow all comments to remain on my articles regardless of what they are. It plainly shows to other readers, the intelligence and decency of those who leave comments.

      Again, if your "comments" or "rebuttals" had anything to do with this article i would have been happy to further discuss them.

      When we read an article it is presumed that the reader will have the fortitude to understand the total concept of what is written, and comment on that premise.

      But when comments are based on something that is not significant, inappropriate, irrelevant, or simply to be argumentative, then a response in kind is not warranted.

    • d.william profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      always exploring:

      thanks for your comments. There are many great suggestions and solutions that would prevent this tragedy from continuing in this country if we only had a working congress that was willing to make the necessary changes.

      Unfortunately, any changes that need to be made that would affect how congress would improve must be made by the very same do-nothing-congress that caused these problems in the first place. That is not very likely to happen in our lifetimes.

    • d.william profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Somewhere in the south


      thanks for visiting and commenting. It certainly is a sad truth, and an American Shame. There does not seem to be any remedy in our near future when we have a completely useless congress that is unwilling to do anything except attack this president and present administration.

    • d.william profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Somewhere in the south


      thank you for your comments. I appreciate your input, but your comments are simply preaching to the choir. We can argue semantics, but that will not negate the gist of this article. The term Democracy is nothing more than a principle of rule by the people, as is a Republic.

      This article is simply intended to show the decline of this government from humanitarianism to the elevation of the corporate status.

      Your comment "The Aristocracy of your concern, derive from democracy." is inappropriate in the context of this article.

      Democracy in itself did not drive this country to the state it is in today, but capitalism that is out of control has.

      This is a subject for another article.

      If you want to further this debate visit the article linked above (Its all about the redistribution of wealth...).

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Democracy provides for 51+% of the population to vote themselves largesse from the public trough. The United States of America was created as a federal constitutional republic...NOT a democracy.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Clearly, D.William - you are unable to support rebuttals, thus your choice to ignore all sides of arguments - my previous post. I am not surprised. It's okay. It's your playground. Good luck in your own protected little world. No guts.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I learned a great deal from reading this article. I was totally surprised to learn that Germany enacted a social welfare law in the 1880's. I wonder how long America will have social programs to aid the poor and elderly? If congress had their way social security would be eliminated and the poor would be put in a home run by the state. Scary as hell! There is one thing we can do as a nation, vote every person democrat and republican out of congress and replace with new blood, plus have term limits ( two years ) The same for the supreme court, two years max. I know i'm dreaming but it could happen if and when the people open their eyes. The poor is getting poorer and the rich is getting richer. The middle class is ceasing to exist. You should be writing for a newspaper who tells it like it is.

    • GNelson profile image


      4 years ago from Florida

      It is a sad truth that We The People are being left in the dust and We The Corporation are thriving.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Historically, the this conglomeration of states, we now call the US, was not born out of public concern, humanitarianism, empathy, but of: revolt. Revolt of many things, to include taxation, authoritarian rule, and never Democracy. Democracy is simply a dictatorship of the majority. A Democratic-Republic is designed to be rule by law (moral laws with any luck) rather than rule by people - majority flavor of the month. The Aristocracy of your concern, derive from democracy. So I would have to agree with Jayfort.

    • d.william profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Somewhere in the south


      Thanks for being the first to read and comment on this article.

      There is not much difference between the terms "Democracy" and "Republic" in that both have a president at the top and citizens who vote to decide who represents them.

      Somehow people in the U.S. equate "Republic" with the Republican party and insist on trying to change history to reflect that misnomer.

      The term "Democracy" reflects the underlying principles of the Democratic party. But neither are all inclusive.

      This article is not meant to try to define our government with terms such as Democracy vs Republic. It is to show how this country has shifted from a broad public concern, humanitarianism, and empathy for the American people to a narrower concern for Aristocracy, control of a few, and greed above all else; and puts the favor of government more toward Corporate America concerns instead.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      The Constitution and constitutional republic must be restored.


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