Compare and Contrast Essay on Social Policies in United States and Germany

Published: 2021-06-29
1186 words
5 pages
10 min to read
Sewanee University of the South
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The government is entitled to offer certain services which are necessary to its citizens. These services are provisions centered on care and response to a society's social needs. Social needs of every citizen are catered for under social policies that each government as set in place. Social policy is said to be an action or plan that agencies of the government have created for the betterment of delivery of social services to society. Social policies are not just mere academic matters but are related to economic and social conditions of a given country. This paper compares social policies between the United States government and Germany. Under this comparison, the paper will compare the state of social security and pension system between them.

Social Security has more than one meaning depending on the country it is defined. For instance, in the United States, the word social security refers to a federal insurance program that is responsible for offering benefits to persons who are retirees and those who are disabled or unemployed (Korpi, 1980. For Germany country, they too define social security as a government system that is entitled to give financial assistance to individuals who are disadvantaged in a society or have no any source of income. By referring to the definition above, the word social security denotes something fairly different in meaning to Americans, than it does in Germany.

The United States social security offers the disabled and retirees aged above 62 years some financial incomes. It also does a good job in assisting families who have lost their loved ones by giving them some financial support. While this system fulfills all these obligations, it ignores to ensure adequate living standards for the population as mentioned earlier (Burkhauser and Poupore, 1997). For instance, policies governing benefits attributable to retirees indicate that they should be earning $900 for every month towards upkeep. But it is not strange to overhear that a retiree is receiving $900 from the social security program. But for the money received, he or she is paying 85% of that money towards rent (Pollack and Von dem Knesebeck, 2004).

On the hand, Germany social security model is designed in a way that it is mandated to assist the retirees, the disabled in the society, unemployed persons and making sure that it gives its full support to families who have lost their loved ones. But, this model's scope of coverage is larger than that of United States. It further incorporates benefits presented to the children know as Kinder-geld (Children's payments). Kinder-geld benefit is beneficial to families who have little kids hence, the money channeled to them is entitled to cater for kids' daycare. The funds released by social security model to these families can continue until even when the child is gaining entry into college. Additionally, the social security model of Germany include benefits associated to maternity. Maternity benefits are not regarded as universal as is the case in the United States. Subsequently, Germany social security model offers high retiree percentage of cash than the United States. They receive 67% of the salaries they used to earn while in formal employment (Korpi, 1980).

In the United States, social security is politically influenced. It is enactment through political will. The progressive political elite of the United States is remembered through the introduction of social security. That is why the system faces a lot of challenges both in their operations and funding since it relies on good political will for it to run efficiently. For instance, the America's political elite including the incumbent president is giving a shot to peel it and transform its functionality. In some cases, social security was almost getting privatized. It is from some quarters of partisan legislators who had to resist that inkling of privatizing it. Thus, it is evident that minus good political will from legislators, this system can collapse.

German social security model is a government entity that runs independently. It requires no political good will for it to sustain itself. It receives funding allotment from the exchequer which is not the case to the United States. The decisions arrived at by the administrators of the model are final, and no political pressure can intimidate them or make them change the decisions they had arrived (Pollack and Von dem Knesebeck, 2004). By comparing the two social security systems in these two countries, it is clear that Germany has the best social security system that is run professionally. And for the United States, theirs has a lot of tribulations, and that is why its functionality is always questionable from the public. All in all, if social security program is implemented well, it can serve the minority, less disadvantaged in the society, the aged and less privileged.

The pension is a plan that is used to accord financial stability and security to people when they are at old age. This program is useful since it provides old people a regular source of income at a time that they can't afford to work for themselves (Burkhauser and Poupore, 1997). The United States has no working pension scheme in place as per this juncture. But they got a system that functions just like a pension system called social security. Social security functions generally as a retirement system program. The federal government is the one that is entitled to paying a certain amount of money. This money paid is centered on the age an individual has attained. The amount one gets paid also depends on how much he or she used to earn and remitting to the system as a social security tax across the useful age of working. The benefit of this plan for the retirees keeps on being modified hence one cannot predict or guarantee on how much he or she will be earning. The United States citizens' taxpayer can be able to have access to their estimated payout through checking it up on the social security portal online or at a specified time when they get a notification mail from a social security administer.

For Germanys, they are more frugal and stingy when it comes to pension payout. The Germans pension system administrators pay so little as monthly monies to the elderly. When comparing these two pension schemes regarding payouts, the Americans' system is the best. It takes good care of the aged by providing them with substantial cash for their upkeep. Equally when it compares to payouts, the cost of living matters. Since the United States' living cost is relatively lower than that of Germany, that is the why the payouts are higher compared to Germany's. Hence, the pension systems of these two countries when compared are like oranges and apples. The system differs significantly. From payouts to even the name itself.


Burkhauser, R. V., & Poupore, J. G. (1997). A cross-national comparison of permanent inequality in the United States and Germany. Review of Economics and Statistics, 79(1), 10-17.

Korpi, W. (1980). Social policy and distributional conflict in the capitalist democracies. A preliminary comparative framework. West European Politics, 3(3), 296-316.

Pollack, C. E., & Von dem Knesebeck, O. (2004). Social capital and health among the aged: comparisons between the United States and Germany. Health & place, 10(4), 383-391.

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