All things considered, public policy across the developed world does very similar things. It promotes health insurance, gives pensions to the elderly, offers income support to the poor, pays for basic infrastructure, and does some subsidization of rural lifestyles that people feel sentimental about. But levels of taxation vary wildly.
Via Jamelle Bouie, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a chart that makes the case:
This is one important reason why the United States has large projected budget deficits.