Wednesday, March 13, 2019

all roads lead to a smoking crater

And now, the Scandinavian experiment is being shown for what it is.

Finland: Government Collapses Over Universal Health Care Costs[;] #Bernie2020 Hardest Hit

“Similar problems are bedeviling Sweden and Denmark, two other countries frequently held up as models to follow on health care”

Finland has long been touted by American socialists as the socialist Nirvana, where everything is free and everyone is happy, happy, happy. Sadly, fiscal reality hit Finland’s government as it collapsed Friday due to the rising costs of its universal health care.

The warning signs were on the wall last spring when Finland, as Leslie noted, ended its experiment with “universal basic income.”

Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has been hanging his socialist mantle on the “success” of Finland’s socialist structure, may be the hardest hit.

The Washington Free Beacon reports:
The government of Finland collapsed Friday due to the rising cost of universal health care and the prime minister’s failure to enact reforms to the system. Prime Minister Juha Sipila and the rest of the cabinet resigned after the governing coalition failed to pass reforms in parliament to the country’s regional government and health services, the Wall Street Journal reports. Finland faces an aging population, with around 26 percent of its citizens expected to be over 65 by the year 2030, an increase of 5 percent from today.
It’s not just Finland experiencing such problems with its socialist policies. Other Nordic countries, also touted by American socialists and communists as the model America should follow, are suffering similar economic burdens directly related to their socialist policies.

The Washington Free Beacon continues:
Reuters reports that soaring treatment costs and longer life spans have particularly affected Nordic countries.

“Nordic countries, where comprehensive welfare is the cornerstone of the social model, have been among the most affected,” according to Reuters. “But reform has been controversial and, in Finland, plans to cut costs and boost efficiency have stalled for years.”

Similar problems are bedeviling Sweden and Denmark, two other countries frequently held up as models to follow on health care. Finland’s crisis in particular comes as calls for universal health care have grown louder among Democrats in the United States.
Just a few days before Finland’s government collapsed over its inability to foot the bill for its expansive socialist experiment, Sanders took to Twitter in an attempt to shame America.

Indeed, Finland has long been a Bernie go-to for the glories of socialism. Last year, he enthusiastically gushed over Finland being the “happiest place in the world” because of all its “free” stuff.

With the collapse of Finland’s government over its inability to financially support its massive socialist agenda, Bernie will undoubtedly do the same thing he always does when socialism (or communism) fails: ignore, obfuscate, and deflect.

After all, for all his big, shiny promises of “free” everything for everyone, he still refuses to address how this largess will be paid for.

This is the same Bernie Sanders who, just a few years ago, back when Hugo Chavez was alive, touted Venezuela as a prime example of socialism in action. He doesn't say much about Venezuela anymore, you'll notice. And you'd trust this man to be president?

This isn't to say that Donald Trump's economy is all unicorns and rainbows. Certain important indicators have turned way, way upward under Trump, but the US faces its own looming fiscal crisis in the form of social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other huge federal programs, as mentioned in a previous post. The US already has its own redistributionist system in place, and it's eating the country alive. I haven't dug around enough to see what's being done about the US's big-picture debt, but I sense that it's a crisis that's going largely unaddressed. (Tell me I'm wrong in the comments.)

Meanwhile, command-economy policies would ruin the nation far faster if the US went all-in with them. And maybe I should change my tune regarding recent remarks I've made about Scandinavian countries. Up to now, I've said that their viability has to do with their being primarily market-capitalist economies, but what we're seeing here, with the collapse of Finland's government, is that command-economy policies are an aggressive cancer eating away at all aspects of national life. I was wrong to claim that pockets of socialism might work within a capitalist paradigm. Finland seems to be showing us that even a little federal redistributionism can be dangerous to a nation as a whole.

ADDENDUM: in fairness, here's a link to an article that says the right's association of Bernie Sanders with Venezuela-style socialism is bogus. According to the article, Sanders has never explicitly advocated a Venezuela-style system, but has instead long praised the various Scandinavian systems as examples he would prefer the US to follow. This, of course, circles back to the fact that the Scandinavian systems are largely market-capitalist and not whatever Sanders thinks they are, but that's not what's at issue here. The issue here is whether it's false to associate Sanders with Venezuela. So the next step is to look up what Sanders has actually said about chavismo-style socialism. The article linked to in this paragraph contains a quote that many on the right would find damning, and which many attribute to Sanders without confirming he said it:

These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who’s the banana republic now?

Turns out the quote actually came from the editor of a newspaper called the Valley News, not from Sanders himself. Slam dunk, right? Sanders is off the hook?

Except there's this:

The editorial in which the quote appeared can be found on Bernie Sanders's own website. If that's not an endorsement of someone else's sentiments, I don't know what is. Obviously, this still doesn't count as an explicit endorsement of chavismo, but it sure as hell looks like an implicit endorsement. Otherwise, why slap that on the website?

This does mean, though, that a lot of rightie "news" sources have been misattributing that quote to Bernie Sanders. I doubt we'll ever see any corrections and retractions. That said, I'd qualify Sanders as, at the very least, sympathetic to the Venezuelan project. He's also linked with places like Ecuador and Argentina, both of which have faltering economies—faltering for the same reason, i.e., socialism.


John Mac said...

But we'll always have Sweden...

My liberal/socialist nephew always plays the "Sweden" card when I mention Venezuela--"that's the kind of socialism I'm talking about!"

We'll just wait for the next domino to fall I reckon...

Kevin Kim said...


Sweden is already coming apart at the seams for other reasons, but yeah, I think its time will come, too, economically speaking—especially once the new, government-imposed racial "diversity" begins to show that Sweden's economic policies hinge on there being a monoculture to keep everything smooth. Within a monoculture, everyone is bound to say yes when the government announces changes in policy because everyone is prone to thinking alike. With a polyculture, you're more likely to have dissenters, and the government can't operate with the same fluid impunity.

I saw an old post of yours, in your archives, that prophesied a lot of what's happening today. I need to go find the link to what you'd written back then...

John Mac said...

Your memory is better than mine! It's been a long time since I've engaged much with politics on the blog. Hope you find it, I'm really curious too...

Kevin Kim said...

Found it! The 2005 post titled "Economic Weaklings." The core of the prophecy:

"I stand by the assertion that Europe as we have known it is unlikely to survive the 21st century. If they weren’t so damn arrogant I might even feel some pity as their pathetic society goes the way of the dinosaur. Godless socialism, declining birthrates, staggering Muslim immigration, and an economy in the toilet. All hail the brilliance of our betters for creating a perfect storm of destruction.

Meanwhile, as we watch the former powers of Europe fade into oblivion, the Chinese are making noises. China will be America’s challenge in the coming years. I expect we will prevail but we won’t have the time or resources to bail out our feckless former allies for a third time."

You were quite the Delphic Oracle back then.

John Mac said...

Interesting read, thanks for remembering it! The comment from my then wife Carol was fun too. Other than politics we got on pretty well...

Yeah, China. They are making big inroads here in the Philippines. So far President Duterte is bending over and welcoming them in. Rumor has it they want to buy the bankrupt Hanjin shipyard that's up the road from me and there's even talk of them having a naval station on our old base. My exit strategies generally start with "when China does XXXX, I'll fly to XXXX.

Anyway, I think the low birthrates and lax immigration policies will kill the Europe we've known faster than socialism will, but it looks to be a close race.