04/14/2017

Another Reminder That The United States Should Not Become A European-Style Welfare State

Daniel J. Mitchell, International Liberty

One of the more surreal aspects of the 2016 campaign was watching Bernie Sanders argue that the United States should become more like a European welfare state.

Was he not aware that Europe had major problems such as high unemploymentand a fiscal crisis?

Didn’t he know that America’s economy was growing faster (which is a damning indictment since growth in the U.S. was relatively anemicduring the Obama years)?

Perhaps more important, didn’t he know that Americans enjoy much higher living standards than their European counterparts? Was he not aware that European nations, if they were part of America, would be considered poor states?

If you don’t believe me, here’s a chart I prepared using the “average individual consumption” data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. These are the numbers that measure the material well-being of households. As you can see, the United States is far ahead of other nations. Indeed, the only three countries that are even close are two admirable tax havens and oil-rich Norway.

What about Denmark and Sweden, the two nations that Bernie Sanders said were role models? Well, the United States could copy them, but only if we wanted our living standards to drop by more than 30 percent.

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