A Look at The Tax Systems and Social Welfare Programs of the U.S and U.K

Last night Aidan and I were chatting about the impending debt ceiling crisis and watching videos on the internet (how very generation y of us) about what just might happen if congress doesn’t get it’s act together. One video on BBC news explained what may happen in 90 seconds stated that the U.S takes in approximately 6 billion in tax revenue daily, at that point Aidan exlaimed “6 billion, wow” and I asked him how much the U.K took in daily (Aidan is from England). He didn’t know so I said we should figure it out; if the U.S has about 300 million people and the U.K has about 60 million then the U.K probably takes in a little more than 1/6 th of the U.S revenue. Aidan thought I couldn’t be right because our systems are so different, so we did a little research and turns out I’m right. According to the Guardian the United Kingdom collected 542.9 bn pounds in tax revenue in 2011-12. Divide 542.9 by 365 and you get 1.5 bn pounds a day, which without taking into account exchange rate, is exactly 1/6th our tax revenue. So to give you more watered down math this means the UK and US collect exactly the same amount of tax revenue per person.

Let that sink in, The United Kingdom takes in the same amount of tax revenue per resident as the United States. And yet  the United Kingdom provides universal health care, a social safety net that is much stronger than the United States, a safety net that catches people and doesn’t entrap them in cyclical poverty like the United States welfare system, and still manages to provide a good military, good schools, and pay it’s government officials.

So why can’t the U.S afford universal health care for it’s residents? Yes I know that the U.S and U.K are not identical, we have a much bigger country, we have a different place in the world economy, and we our much less homogeneous population wise. But, really America why can’t we afford to take care of our residents? Every other developed country has a universal health care system in place, why are we still refusing to take care of our children and elderly in this way?

I don’t understand how you can  be elected by the people and then turn against so many of them this way. I’m not trying to make this political really, even though it inherently is, but just learning this one fact  about the two countries really shook up my view. We are letting our government officials tear our country apart, all parties are to blame for the bipartisanship that is occurring. It really is scary that it has come to this, holding our countries economic (and overall) well being hostage until your side wins is something so evil, selfish, and self serving that it really makes me ashamed of my countries current leaders.



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