Could the Scandinavian model work here?

Bernie Sanders is proposing that the United States adopt the “democratic socialism” of the Scandinavian countries (though they reverse the emphasis in calling their ideology “social democracy”).  As a follow up to my recent visit to Denmark and Norway, I came upon two articles that touched on the cultural factors–including their Lutheran heritage–that make that system work, not only in Europe but with Scandinavian immigrants in America. [Read more…]

Bernie Sanders explains democratic socialism

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders gave his much-anticipated speech in which he explained his ideology of “democratic socialism.”  He said that he doesn’t want the state to own the means of production (the classic definition of socialism).  Rather, he wants to emulate Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Sanders said that virtually all of the New Deal programs we take for granted today–Social Security, the minimum wage, banking regulations, and job programs–were condemned as “socialist.”  Surveying today’s problems, Sanders wants to bring back Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights,” focusing on economic rights.

At the time, when critics accused FDR’s programs and later Democratic initiatives as socialist, the Democratic answer was, “no, they are not!”  Sanders agrees with the conservatives in saying, “yes, they are.”  But at least Sanders embraces the term.

After the jump, read his explanation of democratic socialism.  What do you think of what he says?  If you disagree with his ideology, how would you answer him? [Read more…]

The Democrats’ war on youth

Democrats accuse Republicans of waging a war on women.  Republicans could come back with the charge that Democrats are waging a war on youth.  So argues W. James Antle in the Washington Examiner.  Not only are the Democratic party’s leadership and presidential candidates much older than those of the Republicans, but Democratic policies are proving especially harmful to young people.

For example:  Obamacare forces healthy young adults to buy insurance to subsidize health care for old people.  Democrats resist Social Security reform, jeopardizing young people’s retirement plans.  The burgeoning national debt will have to be paid by today’s children and young adults.  Democrats’ fealty to the teacher unions is preventing educational reform, leaving young people with inferior educations.  Income and job prospects of younger workers have taken a huge hit during the Democratic management of the economy.  Democrats also have a fanatical commitment to the most lethal assault on the young:  abortion. [Read more…]

Republicans trade spending hike for entitlement reform? | Washington Examiner

The Washington Examiner reports that Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives have arrived at a budget deal.  Basically, Republicans agreed to lift spending caps, keep the government funded, and increase spending in return for some entitlement reforms and some tweaks of Obamacare.

Read the story after the jump.  A good deal?  Bad deal?  At least the House is no longer paralyzed? [Read more…]

Amazon sues writers of fake reviews

Who among us does not read consumer reviews before buying an online product?  Or eating out at a new restaurant?  Or choosing a service provider?

These seem to me to be a valuable dimension of the online marketplace, and they have become very important to the businesses getting reviewed.  I appreciate it when companies post an answer to a negative review, pledging to address the problems that were noted.  For the marketplace to be responsive to consumers, it needs information, and now that information–from feedback to businesses to warnings and testimonials to fellow consumers–is now instantly available.

And yet it invites fraud.  I read one estimate that 10% of  reviews are faked.  Businesses can review themselves, or cajole or even pay other people to give them a 5-star review.  Review sites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor try to police that as best they can.

Now Amazon, which posts reviews not only for books but for practically everything it sells,  is suing up to 1,000 writers who are part of a scheme to post positive reviews for $5 apiece. [Read more…]

Free market in a welfare state

In the Democratic debate, Bernie Sanders said that what he meant by Democratic Socialism is a system like Denmark’s.   I had to laugh, having just come from Denmark and learning that the system over there is more complicated than either Bernie Sanders or I had realized.

Despite the stereotype of the melancholy Dane, Denmark has been ranked as the happiest nation on earth.  Its income level, standard of living, and economic prosperity are among the best in the world.

It is true that Denmark has what could be described as a welfare state.  Medical care and university education are free, and the generous safety net takes care of just about everybody.  And yet, Denmark also ranks as one of the world’s freest market economies.  I had assumed that the welfare state and pro-business free market capitalism are irreconcilable opposites.  But the two work together in Denmark. [Read more…]


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