Before austerity, sizable social benefits

Rising government deficits have forced many European governments to scale back their traditionally generous social benefit systems, with deep cuts now underway. While the overall impact of the cuts is yet to be determined, here’s how social spending levels have traditionally stacked up:

Spending on social programs by various countries.
SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. GRAPHIC: Alicia Parlapiano/The Washington Post. Published on April 24, 2011, 11:17 p.m.
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