Kevin Williamson is probably excerpted or curated at Rebel Yid more than any other writer.  In this piece that should be read in full he notes the critical but rarely sited distinction between the welfare state and socialism. In this excerpt he also notes the critical difference between the institutions between the welfare states of Europe and the United States and why attempting to transfer policies from Europe without the quality of the institutions to manage them would not likely yield the same results.

from Venezuela Reaches the End of the Road to Serfdom by Kevin Williamson at National Review

When one of our so-called progressives looks at a Nordic welfare state, what he always says he wants to replicate here is the relatively high taxes and relatively large public sector. It’s never Sweden’s free-trade policies, Denmark’s corporate-tax rate (which is far lower than our own), or Finland’s choice- and accountability-driven education system. When the American Left expresses its envy of Western Europe, it’s never Switzerland’s minimum wage ($0.00) it wants to reproduce, only bigger and more rapacious government. But the relatively large Danish public sector does different things than does the U.S. public sector, and it does them differently. A larger U.S. public sector would be a great deal like the current U.S. public sector — ineffective, captive to politics, corrupt — but bigger.