There’s Good News, and There’s Bad News

The Foundation for Economic Education has a post up explaining how the rich could pay for that list of Progressive freebies: $47 billion on free college tuition; $1 trillion for new infrastructure; $1.4 trillion to write off student loan debt; at least $7 trillion on a Green New Deal; $32 trillion on “Medicare for All.” We can simply adopt tax schemes similar to those used in countries such as France, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.

If Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Warren want the federal government to collect European shares of national income, they will have to adopt European tax systems. That means higher income taxes on the middle class, higher payroll taxes, and higher consumption taxes. According to the Congressional Budget Office, raising $32 trillion in tax revenue would require adding 36 percentage points to the marginal tax rate of every federal income taxpayer in the United States. Not just the rich—everyone. The single woman earning $82,500 and the couple earning $165,000 would see their rates soar from 24 percent to 60 percent.

To borrow from P. J. O’Rourke, the good news is that the rich will pay for everything. The bad news is that you’re rich.

Finland collects about 43 percent of GDP in taxes, and that isn’t enough. Fuzzy Slippers reports at Legal Insurrection that Finland’s government has collapsed because of the cost of universal health care: #Bernie2020 hardest hit.

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 … 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.

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

3 thoughts on “There’s Good News, and There’s Bad News

  1. Have to be honest, legal insurrection is really misrepresenting Sweden and Norway, and to a degree even what happened in Finland. The government collapsed because of a lack of confidence from the legislature and divisions within the government itself that prevented it from acting.

    Nor did Finland “end” its experiment with UBI. They never implemented any sort of UBI to begin with, despite the breathless headlines, but instead implemented a limited, non-conditional income for people who were already on benefits, along with a reduction in bureaucracy, both of which are elements of a potential UBI, but which are not UBI by themselves. The outcomes are currently being examined and results will be released toward the end of the year, at which point the government (whichever government it is) will expand the test with something closer to a UBI.

    As for the the Nordics: Sweden’s healthcare system is universal, yes, but it is funded and directed locally rather than from a national authority, and can be supplemented by personal health insurance. It isn’t in any danger of collapse and, if you want to implement universal healthcare, is the ideal system to emulate as it encourages localism over centralisation. Bernie’s plan (like Finland’s existing healthcare system) is nothing like the Swedish healthcare model, as it would be federally funded and controlled, as opposed to localist approach Sweden takes, which allows for greater flexibility and responsiveness without the potentially crippling costs associated with private healthcare.

    The problem with Sweden, Finland and just about all these other places is not universal healthcare, or even high taxes. It’s the influx of large numbers of unproductive immigrants that are taking services and money out, but have not paid anything in. Sweden’s social policy in particular was balanced toward a relatively homogeneous population with relatively little population growth and relatively shallow income differences. Social welfare actually works quite well in those conditions, as Sweden proved for much of the period from the 70s to the turn of the century. It’s only in the last 20 years that they’ve had any structural issues, coincidental with the sharp rise in immigration that saw more than a million people settle in the country in that period.

  2. was balanced toward a relatively homogeneous population with relatively little population growth and relatively shallow income differences.

    In other words, a bubble, and not representative of or similar to the US in any way. Which is way those social programs don’t and can’t work well here.

Leave a Reply