I always find these stories to be quite interesting. For decades, the American left has pointed to Europe in general, and Scandinavia in particular, of how great and wonderful socialism can be. Over there, we’re told, everyone is rich and happy because they get these wonderful and generous welfare benefits from the government.
How has that worked out in the long run? Well, not so great really. This story details some of the problems Denmark has been having, and more interestingly, some of the solutions. Their economy is in the crapper, citizens would rather sit around collecting welfare checks than trying to work, and foreign investors are balking at the prospect of buying their debt. So how have they responded?
By lowering taxes and reducing benefits. Gee, what a novel concept. Turns out even the European socialists understand that welfare is indeed mandatory charity, and that it is not an economic development plan. Even though their populace by and large still thinks highly of these programs, they’re somehow aware enough of basic economics to understand that these generous programs cannot be sustained. You cannot grow entitlements without a corresponding growth in productivity, and lately, productivity has fallen.
Yet, in America, a nation that’s supposedly really darn conservative and where we’re often told that our leftists would be considered right-wing extremists over in Europe, our politicians still have the gall to insist that welfare is good for the economy. That taking money away from people who work and giving it to people who don’t work is a surefire way to increase overall prosperity. That we can increase productivity with higher taxes and expanded benefits. We are quite literally doubling down on the policies that have just failed in Europe.
I predict that within our lifetimes, America will become far and away more of a socialist-dominated welfare state than Western Europe. Europeans have had to confront the harsh realities of exactly what happens when you allow the government to exercise almost total control of the economy. They know it has failed. They intuitively understand that only a return to market principles can save them in the long run. Meanwhile, in the US, we’re still firm believers in the decades-old myth that the massive welfare/nanny-state of Scandinavia is the absolute perfect economic and political system, and that as soon as we can implement the exact same policies they did, all of our problems will magically disappear.
Nobody will ever acknowledge this, of course. The power elites on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean depend on the myth of a laissez-faire, conservative America, and a socialist, nanny-state Europe in order to maintain their control of both sides respectively. The media and public schools both feed into this narrative, never bothering to fact-check or compare the actual results. But for those who are willing to actually look into the situation, they will increasingly find that Europe learned from the mistakes of the welfare state, while America refuses to them. We are the proverbial teenager who is going to jump off a bridge just because the cool kid did it too. Although in this case, the cool kid broke his leg, limped back to school, and told everyone that jumping off bridges is really stupid. Doesn’t matter! We’ve already decided that socialism is the way to go. Bridge, here we come!