Why do so many Americans think that healthcare for all and free college are impossible pipe dreams when that is the reality all over Europe? If they can do it, why can’t we?
There is a simple answer to this question. (And no, the answer is not “because Republicans are evil!”)
In Europe, some large programs (like “free” healthcare and college”) work for some nations and are a complete disaster for other nations. In many southern European nations, citizens look on state provided healthcare with horror, and make every effort to insure that they don’t have to depend on that system.
American progressives are strangely incurious about what makes some systems work and other systems crash and burn. In many cases, the explanation is cultural and institutional. (As it happens, Scandinavians had a well-established culture of hard work and self reliance and social cohesion, which made the establishment of a large welfare state more sustainable. When the Scandinavians began their ambitious welfare programs, it was a point of honor among many to NOT USE IT. This attitude has been eroded over time).
The Scandinavian models also have had better success rates because they have focused on maintaining a VERY FREE business environment, with corporate taxes LOWER than are found in the US, and limits placed on unions (a practice that would be abhorrent to the average American progressive).
For whatever reason, when large government programs are established in the US, they tend to quickly become bloated, inefficient and corrupt.
For those 2 reasons, opponents of the progressive welfare state believe that considerable damage could be done to the American system (which has always been a powerhouse of innovation and expertise), and many people could be hurt. This is the simple explanation.
An appeal to Progressives: try to understand that your political opponents are NOT EVIL, but instead may see the potential outcomes of your short-sighted political activism better than you do.