Sunday, March 15, 2015

Welfare State and Heaven

In her Peace Weekly column, reflections on current events, the writer tells the readers she has been baking bread for the last 20 years and it is not difficult. The process of baking is science, cooking is art. The reason bread is baked at home is that it is tastier than the bread you buy, because of the ingredients that go into making the bread. She even thinks of bringing back some of the ingredients from her next trip to Europe. For with almost all things you get what you put in.

Without putting anything into the oven you can't  expect bread to pop out. Our image of a welfare state is all about receiving. The columnist when in elementary school  studying geography, and  heard about the Scandinavian Countries, and the way they solved the problems with health and education she considered it like heaven. This understanding is not completely wrong, seeing the expense for a college education, and the part time work many have to find to finish college

When we receive something for free, there are those who are giving. When we go to the hospital and receive a receipt for payment, noted  is what the individual pays, and what is paid by the health insurance, paid for by many. 

We can't identify payment of taxes and expenses. There are other ways to get the money: selling one of our islands down South or deciding not  to sponsor the Olympics or by other strange and extraordinary means. Otherwise, something we are doing now has to be curtailed. The fact, she says, we can think of welfare without taxes is sad. 

If we want welfare programs we need to face squarely what we need to do. Other peoples problems have to become our interest. If we want to give help to the homeless and free lunches to our school children we  need to  change our thinking, or else it is only pie in the sky.

No matter what is done there will always be opposition. In Germany, tuition is free for a university education.Numbers going to a university are much lower than Korea. The parents of the  students going to the university are  relatively better off than those     who don't, and the free education system in Germany has opposition because those who  go to college earn  more than those  who don't, so many are not happy with free education that the citizens have to pay for with their taxes. This is easily understood. Free health, secondary education and help for the elderly does not have the same difficulty that  free university education has. 

She concludes with the words of a German hymn. "When we forget ourselves,/ and leave behind the road we have taken/  and begin again,/  really begin again.// Heaven and earth meet/  we have  peace among us.// Heaven and earth meet/ peace is found among us."

Heaven comes down to touch earth that is not what we mean by heaven is it? However, a welfare state  is getting close to what heaven would be like.