Democrat “socialists” tell us that they don’t want Venezuelan socialism, but the kinder, gentler Swedish socialism. So let’s look at Sweden.
As of August 2018, the population of Sweden was estimated to be 10.2 million people making it the 90th most populous country in the world. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the Los Angeles Metropolitan region’s population was estimated to be over 17.8 million residents. So Sweden is less populated than the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, and by a lot.
The United States has an area of 3,531,905 square miles (the Los Angeles metropolitan area with nearly twice the population of Sweden has a total area of 4,850 square miles). Sweden has an area of 173,860 square miles. So Los Angeles alone has a far greater population in 3% of the area.
In terms of “diversity” of their population, Swedes are primarily Scandinavians of Germanic origin. The remaining 12% of the population is comprised of foreign-born or first-generation immigrants, including Finns in the north, Yugoslavs, Danes, Norwegians, Greeks, and Turks (i.e., they are nearly all Europeans). The United States has more immigrants than any other country in the world. Today, more than 40 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country, accounting for about one-fifth of the world’s migrants in 2016. The population of immigrants is also very diverse, with just about every country in the world represented among U.S. immigrants.
Swedish is the official language and is spoken by the vast majority of the 10 million inhabitants of the country. Five national minority languages are also recognized by Swedish law. By contrast, at least 350 languages are spoken in the United States.
In the United States, the average household net adjusted disposable income per capita is $44,049 a year. In Sweden, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is $30,553 a year. Admittedly, getting accurate comparisons is difficult, so please look at the graph in the footnote. This graph states it is “equivalised.” Still, the US is 8 rungs up the ladder from Sweden. (And, do not fail to note that our “evil capitalism” income surpasses “kinder and gentler socialism” by 44%.)
So comparing the US with Sweden makes the old “apples/oranges” saying ridiculous.
[Source: Sweden’s Success Came From Rejecting, Not Embracing, Socialism, by Daniel J. McLaughlin]
The USA and Sweden are clearly not comparable nations. There is no reason to presume that policies governing a small, homogeneous population will be applicable to a large, diverse population. But even granting that aspect to my argument, is the gospel according to Chuck, Nancy, and Alexandria accurate about “Swedish democratic socialism?”
Let’s take a look (Mr. McLaughlin data comes from a documentary by Johann Norberg which summarizes the history of Swedish socialism):
- Before Sweden became socialist, it had a small government and relatively low taxes.
- In 1970 it was the fourth richest country in the world.
- Socialism then gained a strong foothold, and more of the economy was socialized.
- By 1994 it had fallen to the 14th richest country.
- There had been no net new private-sector jobs created.
In a mere 20 years the economy was in turmoil. Hugo Chavez took over Venezuela in 1999. Hmm! Twenty years ago!
What to do? What to do? Here’s what the Swedes did:
- The tide turned, the socialist idea was rejected, and reforms were enacted.
- They partially privatized the pension system.
- They enacted school vouchers.
- They systematically lowered taxes.
Admittedly, Sweden still has a large welfare state (presumably the Democrat notion of “kinder and gentler socialism”). To support this large welfare state, the tax-to-GDP ratio in Sweden is 44.0%. Current U.S. government spending is $4.407 trillion (that’s the federal budget for the fiscal year 2019). It’s 21 percent of the gross domestic product.
So the questions are:
- Should we more than double the size of our federal government to provide the Democrat socialist wish list?
- Do you believe that the government providing health care will be better than today’s system (already rife with government interference)? (If you answered “yes” you should read about the largest government run health care program – the Veterans Administration Hospitals – and how their patients fared.) The two states (Colorado and Vermont) that tried to do it dropped it.
- Do you believe that state funding of colleges will improve education? While the student cost will go down, do you believe overall education costs will go down? Are you willing to pay for your neighbor’s child to go to Harvard?
I personally believe that Big Government is bad government – it’s axiomatic. But I’ll make a deal with all of my Democrat Socialist friends. You can have your wish list (annual cost of $5 trillion) if you will also pass the flat tax (i.e., everyone will pay proportionately for the wish list) and not falsely proclaim that the money is available by taxing only “the rich.” Any takers?