June 2, 2016


Sorry Bernie: Scandinavia Isn't Socialist. You Must Be Thinking of France (Dylan Pahman, 6/01/16, Acton)

 In Sanders the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011 has finally found a plan: democratic socialism, as Bernie put it, "like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway."

Unfortunately for Sanders, few if any of his policies would get us what the Scandinavians have -- which isn't really Socialism. In fact, it's not even close.

Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, and Norway all rate in the same category as the United States ("Mostly Free") on the Heritage/Wall Street Journal 2016 Index of Economic Freedom. The Fraser Institute's 2015 Human Freedom Index even places Denmark, and Sweden in their top 10, well above the U.S. at 20th place.

Indeed, in his trip to the U.S. last November, Danish Prime Minister Lars L√łkke Rasmussen insisted that the Nordic Model is not socialist. "Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy," he said. "Denmark is a market economy." If Danish capitalism is what the senator really meant by democratic socialism, I might have even voted for him in the Michigan primary! But alas, it isn't.

Sanders' policy proposals tell a different story. As Will Wilkinson of the libertarian Niskanen Center put it, "If you want Danish levels of social spending, you need Danish middle-class tax rates and a relatively unfettered capitalist economy." Bernie has pledged not to raise taxes on the middle class. Instead, he wants to soak the rich. France tried that and found that, as it turns out, the rich can afford to move. Ever since the repeal of their short-lived and insane 75 percent top marginal income tax rate in 2012, many wealthy French are still migrating, contributing to a general "wealth drain."

Bernie Sanders wants more regulation (again, like they have in France) when what he needs to achieve his Nordic dream is less. Even the left-leaning Progressive Policy Institute has recently recommended liberalizing international trade, reducing regulation, and lowering corporate and income taxes -- all things that Sanders opposes. Thus, Bernie wants what the Danes have, but he wants to get it through French policies. Shouldn't he expect French results instead?

Posted by at June 2, 2016 7:06 PM