The reason that the American welfare state is as inefficient as it is, is due to our culture and not to structural issues. Simply put, we Americans turn everything into a racket if given the chance. Germans could make even communism work after a fashion. Canadians have a communitarian culture. We Americans are inventive opportunists to the core. Any scheme involving free public money will be exploited to the maximum extent possible for personal or group gain. That’s just who we are.
Our dilemma is that over time we have constructed such a sclerotic, rats-nest of interwoven rackets that only a full collapse of the system will impel real systematic change. But no new system of “social justice” here would survive the immediate assault of the lawyers, unions, political whores, lobbyists etc.