Bernie Sanders, and his army of supporters, cite countries like Denmark as utopian ideals that they wish to transform America into.
Denmark, along with other Nordics, Sweden, Norway and Finland, runs a current account surplus, and its public finances are in good shape. It is often cited as a good example of democratic socialism, a combination of socialism with a multiparty democracy. Even President Obama is feeling the Nordic burn.
Here are the top 5 reasons why Sanders et. al. are wrong to tout these countries as models for America.
1. Each of these nations have small populations compared to the United States. The table below ranks US state populations vs. Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway. Sweden, by far the most populous Nordic Nation, would only rank as the 10th most populous state. The rest would rank 22nd or higher. Applying socialist policies from such small nations at a national level in the US, which is over 30 times bigger, is a dubious proposition at best.
2. Instead of looking to Europe for answers, we should look across the United States for them. The Tenth Amendment:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, not prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
America’s 50 states, not to mention its territories, serve as policy laboratories, for experimentation, study, and replication when effective.
Texas, for example, is a great state to model other state economic policies after. It produces a disproportionate share of America’s recent economic growth and outlook. Where appropriate, national policies should be put in place to improve the economic climate for states and their people to prosper. Why weren’t Apple, Microsoft, Walmart, Amazon, Facebook, AT&T, Ford Motor, Exxon Mobil, GE, HP, etc. created in Sweden?
California used to be America’s breadbasket, and model economy. But like Sweden, progressives and socialists are slaying the goose (capitalism) that laid the golden egg (wealth generation), and Americans are leaving California. Government by its nature is corrupt, our founders knew this. The larger, more powerful the government, the greater the risk of corruption.
3. Unfortunately, like most socialist utopian goals, the truth of progressive policies are typically founded on fallacies, or the outright misrepresentation of history. “Nordic-philes” insinuate that socialist economies and welfare programs brought them wealth. This is incorrect.
Take Sweden for instance, Swedish economist Johan Norberg exposed the problems with Bernie’s adulation in this YouTube video.
Stefan Molynux goes into greater detail and pulls in the other Nordic States in his YouTube video “The Myth of Scandinavian Socialism.”
– The bottom line is that Sweden made its wealth as a free trade, open capitalist economy. The socialist welfare system came recently, post 1975, and is drowning the world’s former #4 richest economy. By the mid-1990s it had fallen to the 13th. Sweden is also now retreating on its welfare promises, at the same time Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are promising massive expansions of government programs in the United States.
4. Instead of looking at these Nordic States, which are slowly taxing themselves out of wealth, you should study Venezuela, as the most recent country to succumb to socialist dogma. In 19 short years, Hugo Chavez took Venezuela from a prosperous, global oil-exporting nation, to a near failed nation state as a direct result of instituting socialism.
UPDATE: Following my initial post, Leon Krauze from Univision asked Bernie Sanders this very question. If Bernie Sanders can’t face up to answer this question, his supporters likely won’t either.
5. Marxist, progressive, and liberal democrat politicians constantly search for the utopian application of the most destructive economic model in world history.
“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.” British PM Margaret Thatcher
There is never enough wealth transfer: ex. Switzerland’s welfare programs aren’t enough for many of its people, and it could be the first country to enact a national basic income when the Swiss vote this June 5th. Such a measure will swamp Switzerland’s economy.
Update: The Swiss voters resoundingly defeated the initiative (77% against, 23% For). Some of the main arguments against, beyond the enormous cost was:
“…disconnecting the link between work done and money earned would have been bad for society…Theoretically, if Switzerland were an island, the answer is yes. But with open borders, it’s a total impossibility, especially for Switzerland, with a high living standard…If you would offer every individual a Swiss amount of money, you would have billions of people who would try to move into Switzerland.”
Interesting comments from the very people Sanders wants to emulate. They same arguments are made against unchecked illegal immigration and it’s impacts on American’s social welfare programs.
BOTTOM LINE: The answers to prosperity and freedom are within America’s borders. If you want socialism, move to Venezuela. If you want prosperity, stick with what made America the greatest economy in the world. Shrink the federal government’s power, and let Americans drive the economy.