by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Mitchell Nemeth uses a Foundation for Economic Education column to explore the notion that Scandinavian countries offer some sort of socialist paradise.
As the 2020 presidential election nears, progressive candidates continue to propose social welfare programs focused on expanding government intervention in health care, education, and long-standing familial decisions. These politicians continue to refer to Scandinavian entitlement programs and their “successes.” What is often missing from the policy discussions is the unbelievably large tax burden on middle-class citizens in these countries.
… In essence, the American ideal is a land governed by laws, not men. For this reason, America is different from other countries. Voters may, of course, shift their preferences toward the Scandinavian model, but before they come to that conclusion they should understand how these vast programs are funded.
Whereas many Americans would expect corporate taxes and hefty income taxes on the supposed monolithic “wealthy” to fund these programs, this is not the case. Unlike American welfare programs, Scandinavian programs are funded in large part by middle-income and upper-income individuals. …
… Taken together, these taxes on personal income and on individual sales seem daunting. To those on the lower end of the income bracket, the benefits may outweigh the costs. However, to those in the middle of the income bracket, the costs are much more substantial than American progressive politicians lead voters to believe.