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Comment Re:In other news, water gets things wet... (Score 3, Insightful) 639

Not true.
The Democratic Party looks like a typical Social Democratic party in Europe. Actually more left-wing in some cases. For example, in Sweden and Denmark the Social Democratic parties are not promoting government-mandated minimum wages (they understand that it's economic nonsense) and they are less demagogic than the Democratic party in the sense that they realize that a big welfare state can only be implemented by imposing high taxes on the middle class (not just on the "rich", as the democrats typically claim).
The various wings of Republican Party look like a combination of conservative, and nationalist parties in Europe. Many mainstream centre-right parties in Europe are actually less statist than the present-day Republican party. For example, the Dutch VVD, Sweden's Moderaterna and Germany's CDU wouldn't nationalize as many banks or increase the national debt as much as Bush did.

Comment Re: In other news, water gets things wet... (Score 3, Informative) 639

Norway is single payer and the system and it usually has long waiting times. Also, many things are not covered. For example, if you get an ACL injury playing soccer, the system will only cover emergency treatment. It will not cover the reconstruction surgery because it is not life threatening. Of course, you will have chronic pain and won't be able to run anymore. You have the option pay for the surgery at a very high price (like everything else in Norway).

Sweden is a combination of government payed and private insurance companies. The public system also has long waiting times. For example, if you want to see a specialist doctor you have to wait around four months. With private insurance the wait for this is reduced to days, although not for more complex procedures.

The Netherlands is fully private. All hospitals are private and it's not single payer. It is mandatory for people to buy private health insurance. Insurance companies cannot deny people from buying the most basic package, but the government compensates insurance companies when they sell to high-risk people.
Switzerland is similar to The Netherlands.

So no. Single payer is not the norm in Europe and where it is it's not always as good as you might think.

Comment Re:It's all relative (Score 1) 1080

Not really. Northern European countries have very high wealth inequalities.
The most unequal is Denmark, which is even more unequal than USA. Next in inequality in the European Union is Sweden. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... and sort by wealth gini.

These countries have low inequality of income due to the extremely high marginal tax rates on labor, and this is actually one of the reasons there is so much inequality of wealth. The standard of living of high-productivity workers (e.g., engineers and doctors) is a lot lower than in USA which has higher taxes on corporate income, but much lower marginal rates on income from labor.

Comment Re:Anti-Rich People Rhetoric (Score 1) 2115

My comment was an oversimplification, but consumer spending is not what drives growth. They are correlated, but consuming just for the sake of consuming is not what generates growth. Actually, underconsumption can generate growth as it results in more savings available in banks for productive capital investment, which does generate growth.
I am not against higher taxes for the rich, as they benefit more from the services the state offers (e.g., more protection of their private property, possibly higher use of infrastructure, and so on), but the concept of economic growth being a consequence of spending is wrong. It is the other way around. This belief is a big part of what is causing the crises these days.

Comment Re:Anti-Rich People Rhetoric (Score 1) 2115

You are confusing correlation with causation. What you say is true if rich people kept their money as cash under their beds or in a safe.
The reality is that money is put in banks, which lend the money to businesses which produce stuff and hence create economic growth. This results in an increase in consumption (because there is more to consume). You believe that it is consumption that causes economic growth, when in fact it is the opposite.

Comment Re:Norway isn't a member of the EU. (Score 1) 350

And it's not "good enough", being a member of the EU means you have to follow laws agreed by the EU, and if Norway's not in the EU, and EU has this law against looking up digital skirts, and Norway doesn't, it means it won't be illegal in Norway...

Unfortunately, on this point being part of the EEA is as good as being part of EU. We must pass all EU directives unless we veto them, and in the 17 years since we joined we never have. We refused to join EU in a referendum in 1994, but our politicians did the next best thing. By passing the EEA agreement we did not give any sovereignty since in theory all is decided by our parliament, but it's practically impossible to say no. So we're as good as a member, except we don't get to take part in any decision processes - we made ourselves an EU serfdom instead of an EU member.

In addition to being an EU serfdom, you have to pay food at twice the price, because being EEA means you don't participate in the common EU market for agricultural products. This means your politicians can "protect" your monopolist food producers from competition from the rest of the EU. Next time, vote "yes".

Comment Re:not like other countries would do that (Score 1) 248

And Chavez is not a dictator - yet. He's pushing in that direction, but he was popularly elected, and is still operating under a constitutional framework. He's done quite a few good things for Venezuela, but he's started turning down the dark path of too much power.

Can you elaborate on the quite a few good things?

Comment Re:The final step. (Score 4, Informative) 248

Government is only following the corporate masters, moving us not in the direction of socialism but in the direction of fascism.

That is not fascism. That is called mercantilism or reverse-mercantilism by some, which has many similarities to socialism as corporations and the government look like a larger colluding entity similar to what government is in regular socialism.

Americans often misunderstand fascism because it used the term corporatism, but what Mussolini called corporations have nothing to do with what Americans call corporations. Fascism was another form of socialism in the sense that it implied state control of the economy, but unlike traditional socialists it did not promote class struggle.

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