by Michael Lowrey
Thomas Grennes of N.C. State University and Andris Strazds of the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Latvia, have a column in the Raleigh News & Observer titled “Sorry, Sanders: Why the US can’t be Sweden or Denmark.” The key points:
What can Americans learn from the experience of Sweden and Denmark? First, prosperity was achieved by growth in their market economies prior to the expansion of big government. Today, in spite of large government budgets, both countries exhibit greater economic freedom in the regulation of their private sectors than the United States. As Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen stated in a recent speech, “I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a Socialist Planned Economy. Denmark is a market economy.”
Their regulatory freedom may be welcome to many Americans, but it may depend on a small and homogeneous population that the U.S. lacks. Sweden’s bold reform of its fiscal policy has particular relevance to the U.S., given its problems of underfunded Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. However, [Bernie] Sanders and his followers have expressed no interest in constraining spending and taxation policies with a balanced budget requirement.
Full disclosure: Grennes chaired my thesis committee when I was doing my MA in economics at N.C. State.