In some countries, it is common that the family financially takes care of its members; if they can’t, the family members are dependent on charity. But in many countries in Europe, social systems have been built, with the purpose to create economically independent individuals. Parents take care of their children until they are 18; after that, the state takes care of their education, job opportunities and a basic income. The elderly get a pension from the state when they retire at 65. People who are (temporarily) without job get money from the public social insurance against unemploment. Sick and disabled people also get an allowance from these public social insurances. The taxes are of course high; citizens pay 35-60 % of their income to make this possible.
It might seem like a wonderful solution, to organize solidarity between people on a national level. Not every family can support its members. Also, ties of economic dependency in families can be hard to cope with, in case they are being used to exercise power over someone. Everybody needs an education before they can start working, everybody can get sick or loose their job, everybody gets old. Therefore, all of us should help each other through those periods, economically speaking. The result is a small gap between rich and poor, low criminality and prosperous countries.
But just social systems have a backside. Strangely enough, the solidarity seems to disappear when money becomes a private, individual thing. Because people pay a lot of tax, they don’t think about helping each other anymore. The state takes care of it.
And so it can happen in times of financial crisis, when governments have to find ways to reduce expenses and decide to do so by rigorously breaking down social systems, that nobody cares. Psychiatric patients end up in prison instead of getting treatment, young people loose their home and end up on the street because the government suddenly cuts down their allowance, sick and disabled people loose their income because their partner should provide for them, and the unemployed do not get any help in finding a new job nor do they get paid. One income per household is enough, that is what the government is trying to sell; but reality is, that with 35-60 % in tax, only those with top jobs can manage to provide for their household with only one income.
It has been the whole idea, to create economically independent individuals. And now that they are, those economically independent individuals don’t care about others anymore. They even agree with those measures, because they do not feel the consequences….yet. Until the government comes up with the next step: To force families again to take care of their members with advance in inheritance and taking away pensions from the elderly when their children can provide for them. By then, it will be too late.
In the meantime, nobody is wondering why we still pay 35-60 % tax….but that’s because big companies find ‘legal’ ways to avoid paying tax in their homecountry. Somebody has to fill the gap.