39 thoughts on “California Is A European-Style Social Democracy”

  1. I hate what California has become.

    I was stationed in SD back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I tried to get back out there and did in the mid-90’s. In hind sight, the 6 months that I worked / spent drunk and separated were the best thing that could have happened!

    I left to get sober, and after I left the business I worked in went belly up out in the Oil Patch, the state went even further down the rabbit hole and even now I’m still married and still sober!

    Which is more than I can say for the electorate and the elected out there.

  2. Sweden is fairing pretty well and they have one of the highest taxation levels in the world let alone Europe. Spain’s issue is private bank debt and chronic unemployment. There is a lot of Greek and Italian government debt sure. In Italy’s case it is endemic. Southern Italy has had serious development issues since like forever. However people like to paint in broad strokes and put in the same sack things which in reality aren’t actually the same thing.

    1. “Sweden is fairing pretty well and they have one of the highest taxation levels in the world…”

      Sweden also has a much lower standard of living than the United States.

      Amount* Country
      $49,000 United States
      $40,900 Sweden

      So the United States has a standard of living nearly 20% higher than Sweden’s. Why people suggest we should be more like Sweden instead of suggesting Sweden should be more like us is a mystery. OK, it isn’t really.

      *2011 GDP/capita (PPP) per the CIA World Factbook

        1. It’s GDP / capita, not income, so taxes are immaterial to this comparison. The figures don’t care whether the GDP was generated by government or the private sector.

  3. Population of Sweden is 9 million, fairly homogenous people. Total population of the military is 60,000 men. “Sweden’s Gini coefficient ia 0.853 was the second highest in developed countries, and above European and North American averages, suggesting high wealth inequality.” [Wiki – yeah I know…]

    And then:

    “The country faced a real estate and banking crisis in 1990-1991, and consequently passed tax reforms of 1991 to implement tax rate cuts and tax base broadening over time.”

    Gee did they have an Olaf Romney in charge?

    ” In 2006, out of a total electricity production of 139 TWh, electricity from hydropower accounted for 61 TWh (44%), and nuclear power delivered 65 TWh (47%). At the same time, the use of biofuels, peat etc. produced 13 TWh (9%) of electricity, while wind power produced 1 TWh (1%)”

    Gee hydro and nukes….where are their Greenies????

    Try Sweden’s technique with 82 million (Germany and things are beginning to crack) or 350 million non-homogeneous people (U.S.) and see what happens.

    You are assuming the technique is scalable. But it’snot and on top of that, it’s apples and oranges.

    1. The population of Greece isn’t significantly larger than that in Sweden yet they have vastly different outcomes. Income disparity in Sweden isn’t considered to be a problem, as you can read in the sentence prior to the one you quoted, or as you would understand if you ever visited the country. Even with the rate cuts they still have the highest taxes in the industrialized world.
      I agree with you on the nukes. Hydro is mostly a matter of geography. Some countries can do it, others can’t. Germany is a wholly different matter. Their economy has boomed once again because they have mostly finished the reconstruction after the reunification with East Germany however their fundamentals haven’t changed. The US despite the crisis has developed new industries and in Germany this hasn’t happened to nearly the same degree. I could in fact say the Germans managed to fair worse than even smaller countries like Sweden, Finland or even Norway where there were a lot more significant new technological enterprises created or expansions into new segments. Opera, MySQL, Nokia, Ericsson, Fisker, etc. Sure some go bust or get acquired but at least the market is a lot more dynamic and vibrant.

      1. “The population of Greece isn’t significantly larger than that in Sweden yet they have vastly different outcomes.”

        Yes so? Just because one small country manages to handle a simple population and economy properly (for their situation) doesn’t mean another (Greece) will. All that means is that Greece took a simple problem and screwed up. Note the tax cuts Sweden issued. Never saw that in Greece until forced to.

        And that still has nothing to do with large complex nations like France, Germany and the US.

      2. Tax cuts aren’t a magical solution to problems. In a situation where there is widespread poverty it is necessary to have a good enough social safety net to prevent mass riots and instability. The alternative is repression. When there is high unemployment in a shifting economy there needs to be a deep effort retraining people. This may be on the job training, going back to college, or whatever. W’s tax cuts did not solve the fundamental issues in the US economy as can be seen by the amount of business and production which has left the US and the resulting job situation in the period he was back in power. I do not understand why it is so hard for people to figure this out.
        For example I was against the bank bailouts and in favor of the US auto industry bailouts. The auto industry is important not just economically but also for its related defense applications. In my opinion if the US had let GM fail and go bankrupt the resulting pieces would have been bought off by foreign investors and the US would get to a similar situation to that of the UK where the auto industry has nearly vanished. You will probably remember the Chinese were interested in buying GM’s Hummer division for rather obvious reasons.

        1. I give tax cuts as simply *one* example of how successful nations have done the right thing. And to disabuse anyone who reads your stuff that Sweden is a paradise because of Socialism.

          And you still refuse to address the fact that it’s an apples to oranges comparison, and Sweden is not scalable.

        2. “In a situation where there is widespread poverty it is necessary to have a good enough social safety net to prevent mass riots and instability.”

          I agree. But the safety net doesn’t have to be — and should not be — provided by the federal government. It can be provided by the state or local governments instead. Or even better, by churches and private charities. People used to tithe to the Church for just such a reason.

          1. Or you could do something to create jobs and alleviate poverty better. But from what I know, Greece had the opposite system, they created more welfare cases.

            I used to work with a guy while I was stationed in Norfolk, who was getting divorced from a lady he met and married while he was stationed in Greece. He said the biggest wedge that drove them apart was her sending his money to her dad and brothers in Greece.

            He said her father had NEVER had a job in his adult life. He was raised as a fisherman and when his father sold the boat and retired, his father-in-law who was just 15 or 16 at the time never looked for other work. There was some kind of program for displaced workers that paid him some small amount of money and he was happy with that. His mother-in-law worked as a seamstress and supported the family until the kids were all grown, then she left!.

            His three brothers-in-law, following in their father’s footsteps, never went to work and THEY also got some kind of money from the government as displaced family fishermen. Any government that will pay the son’s of a displaced worker AS displaced workers in that same industry that dad is displaced from, even though they never worked in the industry, all because grandpa retired and sold the family business, is pretty much doomed IMHO.

            I don’t fault mom for skippin’ out.

    1. So it doesn’t matter to you that California goes down the tubes as long as the GOP gets screwed in the process. Reagan Republican my donkey.

      1. Michael,

        The GOP chose to commit suicide in the state by ignoring its demographics, something President Reagan would have never done. He understood the party must be inclusive not exclusive. Now they are paying the consequences of their actions and hopefully will learn from them.

        Meanwhile the liberals have a chance to see if their policies and strategies work. If not, then that also will be a learning experience for them.

        And yes, sometimes lessons have to be learned the hard way.

    2. What that Huffington article suggests is CA may be a great place to test a new brand? The right platform in CA might be successful and could then spread to the rest of the country? Teaching some to stick to the platform and avoid getting tangled in any media tar pit would also be some good experience.

      1. Where are you going? I assume you’ve heard the theory that Texas is going to turn blue…..

        May I suggest Hong Kong? I was talking to a German businessman who works there, and his comment was “There is only one place on Earth more libertarian than the USA: Hong Kong.” I asked if he ever worried about the Chinese Communists. He said there was no problem at all. I hope for his sake that he is right about that.

        1. I’m a self-made man of considerable means. Once I close-up shop, I can go anywhere I please and live very well on residual income.

    1. Ken,

      Actually as this map shows Californians have consistently paid more in federal taxes than the state received in federal money.


      On the other hand Arizona over that same period has received far more money from the federal government than it’s citizens pay in taxes. So in this case it looks like Arizona is actually one of those “taker” states that doesn’t pay its fair share of federal taxes…

      1. “On the other hand Arizona over that same period has received far more money from the federal government than it’s citizens pay in taxes.”

        Yeah, they have far more undocumented Democrats percentage-wise than California. So they deserve it!

        Um, I’m still the hang of this far-Left Democrat thing, so is anyone wants to give me a tip, feel free…

      2. …and what state has been fighting with the fed over immigration the most… hmmm? Give me an ‘A.’ Give me a ‘Z.’

        So you promise CA will not be looking for a bailout? Good for you.

        47 states have signed petititions to secede. Not including Maine and two others.

        1. Ken,

          I never said California would not be looking for a bailout. merely pointing out they have been a net contributor to the federal budget, not a drain on it.

          Actually those are not states, just individuals from those states using the petition site at the White House website. It only takes one person to do a petition.

          1. Thomas. keep in mind that California probably gets a big share of any IT work in the rest of the states. So if federal money goes to a IT project in say, Wyoming, chances are good that California will see a big share of that. Same goes for a lot of the other states that allegedly see net loss to the federal government. They tend to have interstate businesses that get cuts of other states’ federal funding.

          2. It only takes one person to do a petition.

            Takes one to create, but in this case, 660,000 have signed on. So far.

          3. Karl,

            Except most of those firms then turn around and out source the work to lower cost workers outside of California. Plus many California firms who get government contracts outsource the work as well out of state, so this probably results in an over statement of California’s return.

          4. Leland,

            Should be, a couple out of a thousand, or that one percent.

            Or if you want exactness its 1 out of 454.

          5. Now it’s all 50 states. Thomas nobody expects any state to actually secede (Although Texas, if any state, actually has the internal resources.) But that and distress flags all over this country is something none of us has ever seen before. This is a significant message.

  4. I have to disagree. California is not a European-style social democracy. That’s why I moved to Maryland, which almost is…

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