Glenn Reynolds – Bernie’s plan: Make America European again!Posted: April 21, 2016
The socialist utopias of Sanders’ dreams bear little resemblance to reality across the Atlantic.
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 Sandersoften uses as a model. Sanders’ 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.”
Likewise, as Charles Lane writes in The Washington Post, Donald Trump’s programs would actually make America more like Denmark. “Actually, the package Trump offers — ‘save Social Security without cuts,’ 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.”
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…
Source: Glenn Reynolds – USAToday
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor and the author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself, is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors.