better soup kitchen lineUnder Barack Obama, the United States has ballooned into one of the world’s largest welfare regimes, and many U.S. states have welfare benefits more generous than those of most entire European countries.

“Benefits in the United States fit comfortably into the mainstream of welfare states,” Cato notes. “Excluding Medicaid, the United States would rank 10th among the EU nations analyzed, more generous than France and slightly less generous than Sweden.”

“Contrary to stereotypes, U.S. welfare benefits are more generous than those in many European countries normally associated with a sprawling welfare state,” they report.

“Thirty-five states offer a package more generous than the mean benefit package offered in the European countries analyzed,” Cato goes on to reveal.

When U.S. states and European countries are put together, eight of the ten most lavish welfare regimes are in the United States.

Hawaii has the largest average welfare benefits of any U.S. state, and larger than any European country.  In second place is Denmark, which the largest average welfare package of any European county.

The District of Columbia, Massachusetts, California, New Jersey and Connecticut rank third through seventh, respectively.

The United Kingdom has Europe’s second-largest welfare state, but if it were a U.S. state it would rank only seventh.

Rounding out the top twelve largest welfare programs are all U.S. states: Maryland, Vermont, New York and Rhode Island.

While the American welfare state explodes in size under Obama, European countries are staving off economic collapse by reforming their systems.

“Many European countries have recognized the problem and have begun to reform their welfare systems to create a better transition from welfare to work,” Cato writes. “In fact, the United States is falling behind some European countries with regard to welfare reform.”

Cato also found that collecting welfare is more lucrative than getting a job in most of the United States.

A Cato study “The Work versus Welfare Trade Off: 2013,” “found that a mother with two children participating in seven common welfare programs—Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), Medicaid, housing assistance, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), energy assistance (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program), and free commodities—could take home income higher than what she would earn from a minimum wage job in 35 states, even after accounting for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.”

In some states, welfare recipients make more than some professionals.

“In Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia, such welfare pays more than a $20-an-hour job, and in five additional states, it yields more than a $15-an-hour job,” Cato reports.