Bottom of page seven of the executive summary.
Comparing generosity of welfare systems with number in poverty (measured as below 50% of median equivalised disposable income.)
The US is in the top left (low transfers, high poverty rate), the Nordics bottom right (yay! social democracy!).
What they don\’t tell us is the findning from Smeeding: that the absolute standards of living of the bottom 10% in the US are the same as the absolute standards of living of the Nordic bottom 10%.
This is the problem with an exclusive focus upon equity. No one is taking account of the costs of actually getting to that equity. The poor in the US get less help, this is true. But the better off in the US live much better than those in the Nordics….and the poor do exactly the same. In terms of human welfare (measured by living standards) which is the better system? Which is better in aggregate? I would vote for the one that gave the same standards to the poor but allowed others to get more, wouldn\’t you?