Bernie Sanders likes to cite Nordic nations as models of the kind of socialism he favors. That’s probably why he honeymooned in Sweden. Oh, wait.
We have pointed out that the Nordic nations Sanders mentions — the likes of Sweden and Denmark — have turned away from socialism. Charles Lane of the Washington Post, relying on a report by JPMorgan Chase, presents the figures to support our view:
Drawing on data from the World Bank, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development and other reputable sources, the report shows that five nations — Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands — protect property rights somewhat more aggressively than the United States, on average; exercise less control over private enterprise; permit greater concentration in the banking sector; and distribute a smaller share of their total income to workers.
Thus, if Sanders were sincere about which nations’ economies he admires, a Sanders administration would favor policies more conservative than the status quo in the U.S.
But Sanders isn’t sincere. He’s hiding the ball.
So is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She too cites the Nordic nations as models.
Turning to the matter of health care, Lane informs us:
The Nordic countries’ use of co-pays and deductibles in health care may be especially eye-opening to anyone considering Sanders’s Medicare-for-all plan, which the presidential candidate pitches as an effort to bring the United States into line with European standards.
His plan offers an all-encompassing, government-funded zero-co-pay, zero-deductible suite of benefits, from dental checkups to major surgery — which no Nordic nation provides.
To be sure, Nordic nations once were more socialist-leaning than they are now. But they were mugged by reality. For example:
The Nordic countries tried direct wealth taxes such as the one that figures prominently in the plans of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); all but Norway abandoned them because of widespread implementation problems.
The JPMorgan Chase report concludes:
Copy the Nordic model if you like, but understand that it entails a lot of capitalism and pro-business policies, a lot of taxation on middle class spending and wages, minimal reliance on corporate taxation and plenty of co-pays and deductibles in its healthcare system.
I don’t think we should be more like the Nordic nations. I believe we should be “more like us.” But being more like the Nordic nations would not mean adopting the socialist-style policies advocated by Sanders, Warren, Ocasio-Cortez, and so many other Democrats.