Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9739319:

Every time 2 3, 11:33pm

For any Americans - think of it like this:

The Nordic welfare state is basically not more complicated then a huge insurance policy.
Your taxes is you insurance payment, and for that you're basically insured against anything that can happen you personally.

This obviously works because EVERYONE pays - and according to ability. Which means that yes, the very, very rich pays a lot more in absolute figures - probably more then they will ever get back, unless they get a particularly nasty disease.
So many of the very, very rich doesn't like this system obviously - because they are the only one's rich enough to be able to pay for all of these things out of pocket themselves.
But for everyone else, it's a completely rational insurance policy - because we can all get that particularly nasty disease, or be hit with other misfortunes in life, and most of us wouldn't have a chance to cope with that financially.

Which of course is why you have insurance in America as well - but you have to pay that privately.

The big difference here is that our welfare insurance policy covers much, much more then any policy in the US does (you don't have policies covering your children's college education, do you?) - but also that our policy actually pays out when you need it.

The welfare state isn't there to make a profit off of you and it doesn't try to trick you with complicated terms or refuse to pay out when you end up needing the insurance.

Because the system is not based on a short-term profit calculation, like a private insurance company in the US is - but on long-term national benefits.

For instance:

It's a benefit to the whole nation that everyone can get the highest level of education they're suitable for - as a more well educated work force benefits the economy as a whole, and thus the nation as a whole.
With a higher general level of education, more specialized and advanced products and services can be made and offered, providing greater export profits, higher company profits and in the end higher tax payments from these companies back to the nation.

The citizen getting that higher level of education and that more specialized job, is also likely to be earning more in that job - meaning that he/she will be paying back more in taxes for decades to come to the nation.

So the investments the nation makes in the individual often pays of many times over, over their whole life.

The simple fact is, that from a national economic point of view, the socialist principle "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" actually works out very well.

If that hadn't been the case - none of the Nordic nation would obviously have succeed as well as we did, with this system.

(Well except Norway, who could probably live off the sale of it's oil alone for the rest of any of our lives, those rich bastards... ;-))

We all need a hand in life at some point - and if we return that favor when we are in a stronger position - that actually strengthen the nation as a whole.
Not only economically, but also in terms of social cohesion.

Most people happily pays into the system, because they appreciate the security the systems gives them, knowing that no matter what happens, they have this insurance. And if they're happy enough to not need that much help themselves - it will still be there for their children, and grand-children, and other people they love and care for - when they need it.

That's not to say there aren't people whining loudly about having to pay tax of course - both amongst the few very, very rich who actually could opt-out of the system entirely - but also amongst the many more who actually benefit from it.
But then there are always stupid and cheap people of course, who won't acknowledge anything they themselves received, but instead pretend all they've ever done is pay into the system.

But as I usually tell them - counting from their free delivery when they where born, through every free doctors visit, through their free daycare and free education - by the time they're around 18 and can start to fend for themselves, the average citizen has already cost the nation the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of US dollars.

Every penny in tax you pay for years to come from then as an average earner is just to pay back what you've already gotten for free.
And that's assuming you didn't have more then the average health problems growing up.

But still, some people will always whine whenever they have to pay anything of course.