Luckily, we in the Anglosphere don’t have to put up with the kind of rampant bureaucracy that strangles freedom in Greece and China, right?

David Brooks invites his American audience to think again:

  • “The U.S. does not have a significantly smaller welfare state than the European nations. We’re just better at hiding it. The Europeans provide welfare provisions through direct government payments. We do it through the back door via tax breaks… The [OECD] recently calculated how much each affluent country spends on social programs. When you include both direct spending and tax expenditures, the U.S. has one of the biggest welfare states in the world.”

Still, the American way of doing things means less red tape, right? The Economist begs to differ:

  • “Every hour spent treating a patient in America creates at least 30 minutes of paperwork… Next year the number of federally mandated categories of illness and injury for which hospitals may claim reimbursement will rise from 18,000 to 140,000. There are nine codes relating to injuries caused by parrots…”

As Elizabeth Barrett Browning might have written (had she been a US government official): “How canst a parrot injure thee? Let me count the ways…”