What is a “democratic socialist”?
According to leading presidential candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders, such a socialist “takes a hard look at countries around the world who [sic] have successful records fighting and implementing programs for the middle class and working families.”
I don’t believe him. He shows his cavalier attitude in his next few words: “When you do that you automatically go to countries like Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden . . .”
Competent comparative economics doesn’t simply focus on a few policies one happens to admire and then trumpet them for America. Other countries following Bernie-branded socialist policies are in or headed into the proverbial toilet, i.e. PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain).
The common-on-the-left meme runs like this: “No Other Advanced Country,” which Kevin D. Williamson handily demolishes in a recent article:
If we are to go around the world cherry-picking policies from happy countries, we might pass over French paid-leave laws in favor of the Swiss capital-gains tax (generally 0.00 percent) or the Swiss national minimum wage (there isn’t one), or Finland’s very liberal (in the good sense of that word) education system, or Sweden’s free-trade regime and its financial-regulatory system. We’d have to make radical improvements on our federal balance sheet to get our public debt down to Norwegian levels.
American success has never really been about copycatting Europe. We need to look hard at those who pretend otherwise — like nova Bernie, the rising star of the left, who’s now besting Hillary in polls in New Hampshire and Iowa.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.