If you believe Bernie Sanders, Sweden is like Nirvana. With it’s free health care, great paying jobs, and lack of income inequality, it’s is something the U.S. should aspire to be. Right?
There are so many things wrong with the Sweden model it’s hard to know where to start. Healthcare, incomes, poverty. The United States wins on all of them. If these sounds foreign to you, prepare to have your eyes opened to the truth!
When using the worldwide measure for poverty, percentage of citizens earning less than 50% of average income, the US actually fairs better than Sweeden. Using this metric the US has 26.3% of the polulation in poverty while in Sweden it's 26.7%
How about those who are at risk of being in poverty. Those on the borderline? In Sweeden 16.9% of the population are considered to be on the borderline and risk of falling into poverty. And that's real poverty. A standard of living determined to be at risk of death or disease from the elements, starvation or other.
Now the average gross income in the US is $51,939 vs $52,484 in Sweden. Of course once you consider the tax burden for both countries you arrive at $42,589 for American at an average 18% tax rate and $26,242 for Sweden which has a 51% tax burden. That's an annual difference of $16,347 REAL dollars every year in favor of the US.
In terms of income inequality the US fairs pretty well compared to Sweden. The top 10% of income earners in Sweden have 22% of the income while in the US the top 10% of income earners have 30%. That's an 8% difference and hardly the draconian scenario liberals would have you believe.
The real difference is when you consider the ability to achieve wealth in both countries. About 5% of US citizens have achieved their goals of becoming millionaires. In Sweden, despite an increase of millionaires in recent years, their millionaires as a percent of the population is an anemic .6% Yes. Barely more than 1/2 of 1%. That means there are 8.35 times as many millionaires in America as a percentage of the population.
As for this magical unicorn of amazing health care in Sweden let's not be naive. Access and choice for providers continues to be a problem for those hoping to have choice and get the best health care possible for their families. When the government attempted to increase choice for patients by allowing businesses to set up clinics it was thwarted by the autonomy of county councils, whose different political majorities have chosen to implement government directives independently.
In other places, perverse effects have been shown, with older or chronically ill patients being crowded out by healthier patients in a system that strongly incentivizes quick access to care.
It was recently revealed in one of the major newspapers that doctors were told to prioritize patients based on their value as future taxpayers. Old people naturally have a low future-taxpayer-value, so they naturally became low priority in the machine and less likely to receive proper treatment.
Finally, a description of what it's actually like enjoying all that 'free' health care in Sweden from someone who lives there. Not some idealistic socialist who read some article on a blog somewhere.
For non-emergency cases in Sweden, you must go to the public “Healthcare Central.” This is always the starting point for anything from the common flu to brain tumors. You must go to your assigned Central, according to your healthcare district. Admission is by appointment only. Usually they have a 30-minute window every morning, when you call to claim one of the budgeted slots. Make sure to call early or they run out. Rarely will you get an appointment for the same day. You will be assigned a general practitioner, probably one you have never met before; likely one who does not speak fluent Swedish; and very likely one who hates his job. If you have a serious condition, you will be started on a path of referrals to experts. This process can take months. Contrary to what professor Frank believes this is not a “feature” of the system, to ensure maximum capacity-utilization. This is an unavoidable characteristic of central planning, analogous to Soviet bread lines, which nobody refers to as a “feature.”
This healthcare “bread line” is where people die. It happens regularly that by the time a patient gets to see an expert, his condition has progressed beyond remedy. It also happens frequently that referrals get lost. Bureaucracies create listless employees, who don’t care, who refuse to go the extra mile, and who are never responsible for failures.
Socialism is a philosophy of consumption rather than production. As a result, the longer a socialist society exists the less it produces and the more it consumes. The end result is that it collapses in on itself with is a logical conclusion. One only has to look to Greece recently to see this in almost real time as it happened.
"Ludwig von Mises explained that socialism is not an alternative economic system. It is a program for consumption. It tells us nothing about economic production. Since each man's production must be distributed to all of mankind, there is no economic incentive to produce anything, although there may be the incentive of coercion and threats of violence. Conversely, free market capitalism is an economic system of production, whereby each man owns the product of his own labors and, therefore, has great economic incentives to produce both for himself, his family, and has surplus goods to trade for the surplus product of others. Even under life and death threats neither the socialist worker nor his overseer would know what to produce, how to produce it, or in what quantities and qualities. These economic cues are the product of free market capitalism and money prices.
Under capitalism, man specializes to produce trade goods for the product of others. This is just one way of stating Say’s Law; i.e., that production precedes consumption and that production itself creates demand. For example, a farmer may grow some corn for his family to consume or to feed to his own livestock, but he sells most of his corn on the market in exchange for money with which to buy all the many other necessities and luxuries of life. His corn crop is his demand and money is simply the indirect medium of exchange."
I won't go into all of the other socialist models that have failed in just the past 100 years alone. None of them pure socialism to be sure. But then again when is any government or economic system pure? I don't know of any that are. You can do the research for yourself if you genuinely want to know how many socialist economies/government have failed. I doubt you will though because you don't want to know.
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