Hidden welfare state


The hidden welfare state is a term coined by Christopher Howard, professor of government at the College of William and Mary, to refer to tax expenditures with social welfare objectives that are often not included in discussions about the U.S. welfare state. Howard's terminology implies that "visible" social welfare programs are designed to help the neediest, but the "hidden" programs often offer benefits to wealthier individuals and companies.Programs that constitute the visible welfare state of direct expenditures include: Social Security, Medicare, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children. The hidden welfare state refers to tax expenditures (deductions) with social welfare objectives: tax deductions for retirement saving, charitable contributions, higher education, and the home mortgage interest deduction. All of these deductions benefit constituencies with considerable disposable income.
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