Welfare State

July 20, 1950

Report Outline
Poltical Controversy Over Welfare State
State Socialism and the Welfare State
U. S. Constitution and the General Welfare
Welfare State and Postwar Objectives

Poltical Controversy Over Welfare State

Controversy over President Truman's Fair Deal program has given political connotations to the term “welfare state” and thrust it into the arena of campaign debate. Republican and other critics of the administration have used the term in a derogatory sense to sum up their conception of the end results of New Deal and proposed Fair Deal measures. To them the welfare state is virtually equivalent to a Socialist state which will subordinate personal liberties to the planning and controls of a powerful central government. Democratic supporters of the administration, on the other hand, dismiss all such apprehensions as groundless and declare their determination to carry on the fight for measures which they contend will promote the general welfare and, by so doing, strengthen the forces of democracy for the continuing combat with totalitarianism.

Emergence of Welfare State as a Political Issue

The stage was set for emergence of the welfare state as a political issue, not by a Republican, but by a prominent southern Democrat only lately a leading figure in the Truman administration. At Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., June 18, 1949, former Secretary of State Byrnes called for “abandonment of some of the new programs suggested, which point inevitably to a welfare state.”

We are going down the road to statism, [Byrnes warned]. Where we will wind up, no one can tell, but if some of the new programs seriously proposed should be adopted, there is danger that the individual … will soon be an economic slave pulling an oar in the galley of the state … In the days ahead of us there will be a struggle between those who believe in individual freedom and those who would subordinate the individual to the dictates of government.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Aug. 2010  Social Welfare in Europe
Aug. 03, 2001  Welfare Reform
Dec. 06, 1996  Welfare, Work and the States
Sep. 16, 1994  Welfare Experiments
Apr. 10, 1992  Welfare Reform
Oct. 10, 1986  Working on Welfare
Mar. 09, 1984  Social Welfare Under Reagan
Apr. 17, 1981  European Welfare States Under Attack
Dec. 09, 1977  Welfare in America and Europe
Nov. 21, 1975  Future of Welfare
Dec. 20, 1967  Welfare Reform
Jun. 08, 1966  Guaranteed Income Plan
Oct. 04, 1961  Public Welfare Policy
Mar. 09, 1954  Worker Welfare Funds
Jul. 20, 1950  Welfare State
May 07, 1947  Union Welfare Funds
Jan. 10, 1940  Expansion of the Food-Stamp Plan
Welfare and Welfare Reform