Written by Emmanuel Sessegnon
Socialism is becoming popular in the United States these days. Looking to Scandinavia for proof, many millennials are turning to socialist politicians.
Socialist groups are not only popping up all across the nation, they have recently been gaining power. The Democratic Socialists of America has even elected a candidate in New York, Ocasio-Cortez.
The typical example of ‘successful’ Socialism is always Scandinavia. The Nordic Nations, in the eyes of Socialists, are an immaculate paradise. Health insurance and funds for college are both provided by the government for free. Even daycare is provided free of charge. It’s for these reasons that Bernie Sanders, a man incredibly popular among millenials, speaks of Scandinavia in such golden terms.
Let’s be clear: Socialism never truly works. Not even once. Every country that enacts Socialist policies pays one way or another; such as France with it’s habitual 9% unemployment rate. Socialist policies, with their high taxes, disincentivize wealth creation and encourage people to invest elsewhere. And by rewarding laziness and punishing success, it breeds a culture of apathy and laziness.
Of all cases of Socialism, Scandinavia is by far the best case scenario. After all, study after study has demonstrated that the Nordic Nations have some of the highest Human Development Indexes on the planet. However this can be explained by their homogeneity. If everyone looks the same, lives the same, and most importantly, thinks the same, little conflict is possible. In addition, their massive oil reserves allow them to ‘afford’ the costs incurred.
So that leaves the question: what is the effect of Socialist policies on the Nordic Nations?
One effect has been significant tax increases. Even with their oil reserves, they still need high taxes to pay for Socialism. Denmark’s income tax or middle class families making $55,000 is a staggering 60.2%. This is a stark reality check. Despite being one himself, Bernie Sanders often says that tax hikes under Socialism would only affect the ‘millionaires and billionaires’. This is false, even the middle class picks up the tab for socialist policies. To be clear, Denmark isn’t alone. Sweden has a top rate of 56.3%, practically strangling the incomes of its own population.
On the other hand, the highest combined Federal and Local tax rate for Americans is only 44.6%. This gives us great growth that allows our economy to be one of the strongest in the western world.
Scandinavians are afflicted with large taxes even outside of tax season. In America, when you buy a car you pay for the price of the car, plus a small sales tax. Denmark is different. In Denmark you pay between 105% and 180% in taxes depending on the price of the car. Sales tax in Sweden stands at an astonishing 25% compared to America’s highest sales tax rate of only 10%. These taxes hit consumers hard, especially the lower class who would be paying a higher percent of their income on such taxes, making it a regressive tax.
It’s partly because of taxes like these that Nordic families have far more debt, with the average Danish family suffering from three times as much of it. After all, if large taxes are applied to almost everything you buy, you’re going to have to borrow more to pay for it.
But taxes aren’t the only way Nordic households pay for their ‘free’ stuff. Another method of payment is lower income. Whereas the average American family takes home over $59,000 annually, the average Norwegian family gets only $35,000. The same applies to other Nordic nations, with Sweden, Denmark, and Finland having similar incomes. Socialists would rather leave American families with far less income in exchange for ‘free’ stuff.
Even in it’s best case scenario, the adoption of Socialist policies is crippling, and holds nations back. Not only does it hurt the economy; it crushes work ethic and punishes success. In essence, it is a twisted Robin Hood that takes from the rich and gives to the government. Even the poor are harmed by Socialism, as they have no real way of advancing themselves under Socialism, only collecting a government check in the mail.
Never let anyone tell you that Scandinavia is a Socialist paradise full of free stuff. Nothing on Earth is free. Nothing.
When a society succumbs to the allure of ‘free’ stuff, they will be paying one way or another. And it’s hard-working citizens who pick up the tab.
When these policies eventually come to be debated on the floor of Congress, call your Congressman. Call your Senator. Let them know about Scandinavia.