Fiscal crisis, financial crisis, and the great recession

Authored by: Kevin Farnsworth , Zoë Irving

The Routledge Handbook of the Welfare State

Print publication date:  November  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415682923
eBook ISBN: 9780203084229
Adobe ISBN: 9781136190230


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There is an ongoing tension – some would argue contradiction – that goes to the heart of capitalist welfare states. On the one hand, states face ever-growing demands to provide more and better services. Some of these demands are made by citizens who desire better schools, hospitals, roads, and rail services. Some of these demands come from the corporate sector: for better educated workers; better funded public research facilities; more generous subsidies; public bailouts; and increased injections of public spending to increase macro economic demand. Few, however, appear to want to pay higher taxes to fund all this. Citizens of ordinary means are resistant to paying more, especially when the super-rich appear to be so reluctant to pay their fair share. Politicians also appear to have little appetite to tax the wealthy for fear of dampening their entrepreneurial spirit and causing them to flee to less punitive tax regimes, while increases in corporation tax are largely unthinkable. In any case, the wealthy and large corporations can employ various means to avoid paying even the tax levels laid down by law.

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