Thursday, January 05, 2017

"Make America European Again!"

Glenn Reynolds, from last April:

In conventional political thought, Democrats are always trying to make America more European—Higher taxes! Free college! A smaller military!—while Republicans are a passel of cowboys who view Europe as a bunch of socialist libertines.

But, as with much of conventional political thought, this isn’t quite right. And if the Republicans really want to mess with Democrats’ minds, perhaps they should launch a new campaign to make America more like Europe.

A good place to start would be with the Scandinavian countries that Bernie Sanders often uses as a model. [Sanders’s] problem is that the Scandinavia he has in mind is the Scandinavia of the 1970s. Scandinavians today have learned a few things since then, which Bernie seems to have missed.

As Swedish pundit Johan Norberg writes: “Sanders is right: America would benefit hugely from modeling her economic and social policies after her Scandinavian sisters. But Sanders should be careful what he wishes for. When he asks for ‘trade policies that work for the working families of our nation and not just the CEOs of large, multi-national corporations,’ Social Democrats in Sweden would take this to mean trade liberalization—which would have the benefit of exposing monopolist fat cats to competition—not the protectionism that Sanders favors. ... Being more like modern Sweden actually means deregulation, free trade, a national school voucher system, partially privatized pensions, no property tax, no inheritance tax, and much lower corporate taxes. Sorry to burst your bubble, Bernie.”


[WaPo writer Charles] Lane adds: “Like many American admirers of Scandinavian welfare states, Sanders lacks detailed knowledge of how those systems work, or an appreciation for certain cultural peculiarities that make cradle-to-grave welfarism politically sustainable there but not, so far, here. ... Denmark, tolerant and generous toward the Danes among its 5.6 million people, is deeply anxious about its 260,000 Muslims—so much so that a left-right parliamentary coalition recently authorized police to seize cash and valuables from refugees, ostensibly to help pay for their accommodation but also to deter them from coming at all.” Imagine the outcry if Trump proposed that.

Reynolds's article goes on to talk about how Trump's agenda of a "vaguely pro-single-payer position on health care, plus temporarily banning Muslims and walling off Mexico—bears an eerie resemblance to the Danish government’s current policy mix."

Toward the end of the article, Reynolds observes how draconian a European country like Sweden is regarding abortion policy:

Sweden, for example, bans all abortions except by special request after 18 weeks. And, BBC News reports, there are serious restrictions on abortion after the first trimester: “Between 12 and 18 weeks of gestation, the women must discuss the procedure with a social worker. After 18 weeks, permission must be obtained from the National Board of Health and Welfare. Abortions must be performed by a licensed medical practitioner and, except in cases of emergency, in a general hospital or other approved healthcare establishment. Abortion is subsidized by the government. The country says illegal abortions have been eradicated.”

Bernie Sanders, while a likable enough fellow in person, has no notion of how a healthy economy works, and as a self-avowed socialist, he's a damn hypocrite for owning three large properties in up-market areas. So much for "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

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