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Thread: How would Bernie Sanders really like it in Scandinavia?

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    How would Bernie Sanders really like it in Scandinavia?

    Bernie Sanders and his supporters tend to point to the Nordic countries as a model for the US to follow. But how do the policies he advocates look compared to the policies of the Nordic countries? I'm listing Swedish data here, but they are similar in the other Nordic countries.

    By my impression, Americans on the left tend to be strongly against (high) VAT. They (correctly) cite that it is not even a form of flat taxation, as it affects everyone equally, regardless of their income level. If memory serves correctly (been quite a few years since I visited those places), the VAT in New York is 8%, in Florida it is 6%. What's the standard VAT rate in Sweden? 25%.

    It is also clear that Sanders is opposed to economic globalization and wants to protect "American jobs" from ebing outsourced. You almost never hear such rhetoric in Sweden, even from our left. Instead, it is nationally acknowledged that globalization and international trade is very important for the economic well-being of the country. It would be good if that was the case in the US too. If Sweden was located in North America, it would certainly be in favor of NAFTA.

    Bernie is also a big fan of "workplace democracy" and that employees should own their companies. Such things are never talked about in Sweden, at least not in mainstream politics. Further, I don't really see what the fuss is. There is to my knowledge no law in the US preventing employees from owning a company.

    The corporate tax rate in Sweden is 22%, compared to the American one, which is at least 35%.

    Further, Sweden has no wealth tax and no inheritance tax.

    Is this what Bernie Sanders advocates? Is Scandinavia Berniestan? I'm not so sure about that. Bernie Sanders, like American leftists in general, need to read up on how the countries they like actually work.

    So I'll try to explain a bit. It is true that Sweden has a comprehensive welfare state. We have five weeks of paid vacation every year, free univeristy tuition (in fact, not just free for Swedes, but also for other EU citizens as well as other Nordic citizens), and universal healthcare. A few of our universities are ranked highly in global rankings (though the quality of our elementary school education has been in decline for decades). In order to finance that, you just can't tax high income earners to an unlimited degree (though they are pretty heavily taxed). There simply isn't that much money to tax in (and they might leave the country if it gets out of hand). In order to finance a comprehensive welfare state, you need to tax the broader population, which is what a VAT does. Otherwise there is not enough money to go around.

    Also, many welfare services are provided to everyone, not just on a need basis as I understand is the case in English-speaking countries. University tuition is free, even if you are a billionaire. If this was not the case, then a lot of public support for a comprehensive welfare state would evaporate because a lot of people would pay in and not get much of it back.

    I hope this was educational!

    Bernie Sanders is a populist who is either ignorant or a charlatan.

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    Actually, we could afford it if we didn't spend nearly as much on the military and added a FICA tax on investment income for the wealthy.

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    Veteran Member arkirk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tammuz View Post
    Bernie Sanders and his supporters tend to point to the Nordic countries as a model for the US to follow. But how do the policies he advocates look compared to the policies of the Nordic countries? I'm listing Swedish data here, but they are similar in the other Nordic countries.

    By my impression, Americans on the left tend to be strongly against (high) VAT. They (correctly) cite that it is not even a form of flat taxation, as it affects everyone equally, regardless of their income level. If memory serves correctly (been quite a few years since I visited those places), the VAT in New York is 8%, in Florida it is 6%. What's the standard VAT rate in Sweden? 25%.

    It is also clear that Sanders is opposed to economic globalization and wants to protect "American jobs" from ebing outsourced. You almost never hear such rhetoric in Sweden, even from our left. Instead, it is nationally acknowledged that globalization and international trade is very important for the economic well-being of the country. It would be good if that was the case in the US too. If Sweden was located in North America, it would certainly be in favor of NAFTA.

    Bernie is also a big fan of "workplace democracy" and that employees should own their companies. Such things are never talked about in Sweden, at least not in mainstream politics. Further, I don't really see what the fuss is. There is to my knowledge no law in the US preventing employees from owning a company.

    The corporate tax rate in Sweden is 22%, compared to the American one, which is at least 35%.

    Further, Sweden has no wealth tax and no inheritance tax.

    Is this what Bernie Sanders advocates? Is Scandinavia Berniestan? I'm not so sure about that. Bernie Sanders, like American leftists in general, need to read up on how the countries they like actually work.

    So I'll try to explain a bit. It is true that Sweden has a comprehensive welfare state. We have five weeks of paid vacation every year, free univeristy tuition (in fact, not just free for Swedes, but also for other EU citizens as well as other Nordic citizens), and universal healthcare. A few of our universities are ranked highly in global rankings (though the quality of our elementary school education has been in decline for decades). In order to finance that, you just can't tax high income earners to an unlimited degree (though they are pretty heavily taxed). There simply isn't that much money to tax in (and they might leave the country if it gets out of hand). In order to finance a comprehensive welfare state, you need to tax the broader population, which is what a VAT does. Otherwise there is not enough money to go around.

    Also, many welfare services are provided to everyone, not just on a need basis as I understand is the case in English-speaking countries. University tuition is free, even if you are a billionaire. If this was not the case, then a lot of public support for a comprehensive welfare state would evaporate because a lot of people would pay in and not get much of it back.

    I hope this was educational!

    Bernie Sanders is a populist who is either ignorant or a charlatan.
    Quit putting words in Sanders' mouth. What he said in the debate was that we might look at some of these countries for ideas, not that we should replicate them here. For an industrialized nation, we are quite backward in the U.S. You do not understand the conditions in the U.S. and don't realize that people in this country whose income is from rents of various kinds are taxed less on that income than people who do honest labor for their money. You really have no idea what you are talking about.

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    Veteran Member funinspace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tammuz View Post
    The corporate tax rate in Sweden is 22%, compared to the American one, which is at least 35%.
    Yeah, the US corporate tax rate w/o the 3,372,184 deductions is probably too high. However, US companies are only paying 12-13% on average, and it has been this way for over a decade now. Though it makes for lots of steady work for tax accountants and lawyers...
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/expert-d...axes-are-high/
    According to data from the General Accountability Office cited by Kleinbard, corporations on average paid 12.6 percent as of 2010.
    What is the actual average tax percentage paid by Swedish companies?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tammuz View Post
    By my impression, Americans on the left tend to be strongly against (high) VAT. They (correctly) cite that it is not even a form of flat taxation, as it affects everyone equally, regardless of their income level. If memory serves correctly (been quite a few years since I visited those places), the VAT in New York is 8%, in Florida it is 6%. What's the standard VAT rate in Sweden? 25%.
    There are no VAT taxes in the US, not in New York, and not in Florida. What we have is a sales tax at the State and (often) local levels. The difference is that sales tax is only charged to the consumer, the last person in the chain to purchase the item. VAT is charged at every step in the supply chain of a product, but those who are not end users, and sell to others are generally credited for the taxes they paid. It is a subtle difference, but a difference none the less.

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    Veteran Member jonatha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeepTalking View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tammuz View Post
    By my impression, Americans on the left tend to be strongly against (high) VAT. They (correctly) cite that it is not even a form of flat taxation, as it affects everyone equally, regardless of their income level. If memory serves correctly (been quite a few years since I visited those places), the VAT in New York is 8%, in Florida it is 6%. What's the standard VAT rate in Sweden? 25%.
    There are no VAT taxes in the US, not in New York, and not in Florida. What we have is a sales tax at the State and (often) local levels. The difference is that sales tax is only charged to the consumer, the last person in the chain to purchase the item. VAT is charged at every step in the supply chain of a product, but those who are not end users, and sell to others are generally credited for the taxes they paid. It is a subtle difference, but a difference none the less.
    Sales taxes also generally do not apply to everything that's sold (there are often exemptions for food, and services are generally not covered at all).

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    Veteran Member arkirk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by funinspace View Post

    Yeah, the US corporate tax rate w/o the 3,372,184 deductions is probably too high. However, US companies are only paying 12-13% on average, and it has been this way for over a decade now. Though it makes for lots of steady work for tax accountants and lawyers...
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/expert-d...axes-are-high/
    According to data from the General Accountability Office cited by Kleinbard, corporations on average paid 12.6 percent as of 2010.
    What is the actual average tax percentage paid by Swedish companies?
    A couple of little points.... Sweden is not ALL of Scandanavia. Maybe Sweden is a bit too much in oribit around the U.S. The fact remains, healthcare is a right for a Swede whereas in the U.S. it is a gamble if you get health care at all. If they can still afford to provide healthcare and education and other similar necessities of life as rights, that still reflects on the U.S. which is getting a failing grade. If they take the same revenue and do more for the average man, the system is obviously better. Bernie just pointed out some examples were in Scandanavia, that does not mean he has a plan for a carbon copy of your particular outcome.

    If you look at the crazy contorted ACA the U.S. has produced with inputs mainly from big pharma, the insurance companies, hospitals and other ownership interests, you should be glad you can get healthcare without running a gauntlet and being overcharged. As bad as Obamacare is, it still is an improvement over what we had before but it really should go and be replaced by a single payer system. Public health, especially in matters of contagion is a matter of that belongs in the realm of government because of its ability to affect all people. Pharma companies are screwing the American people every day with prices that are totally unreal and just designed for profit (under the old Frank Norris principle...all the traffic will bear). Medical equipment manufacturers are pretty bad too. Actually a society that does not care what happens to the least of its members ends up in a bad way when it comes to health...bad like ours is today.

    Some people don't have a clue and can't begin to understand how good they have it. I count Tammuz in that number.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KeepTalking View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tammuz View Post
    By my impression, Americans on the left tend to be strongly against (high) VAT. They (correctly) cite that it is not even a form of flat taxation, as it affects everyone equally, regardless of their income level. If memory serves correctly (been quite a few years since I visited those places), the VAT in New York is 8%, in Florida it is 6%. What's the standard VAT rate in Sweden? 25%.
    There are no VAT taxes in the US, not in New York, and not in Florida. What we have is a sales tax at the State and (often) local levels. The difference is that sales tax is only charged to the consumer, the last person in the chain to purchase the item. VAT is charged at every step in the supply chain of a product, but those who are not end users, and sell to others are generally credited for the taxes they paid. It is a subtle difference, but a difference none the less.
    The effect to the consumer is the same though.

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    Veteran Member arkirk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayjay View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KeepTalking View Post

    There are no VAT taxes in the US, not in New York, and not in Florida. What we have is a sales tax at the State and (often) local levels. The difference is that sales tax is only charged to the consumer, the last person in the chain to purchase the item. VAT is charged at every step in the supply chain of a product, but those who are not end users, and sell to others are generally credited for the taxes they paid. It is a subtle difference, but a difference none the less.
    The effect for the consumer is the same though.
    California has a 9% sales tax. It is quite regressive. They do not tax food. For a long time car imports from Italy were almost zero in the U.S. because Italy had a manufacturing tax (a true VAT) and it was high. Looking around North Hollywood today and seeing a lot of Fiats I think it must have been lifted. About the only thing I agree with the Repuglicans on is that our tax code is far too complex and it affords many corporate lawyers full time jobs defending all the corporate give aways and big business welfare. The last part of the last sentence, I am sure the Repugs don't buy either. The kind of taxation that is required is stiff taxes on payments that we should call rents....where the person receiving the payment does so because he owns something. That something can be anything from real property to the authority to license some activity, to stocks and bonds. In a highly financialized economy, taxation could go a long way toward unwinding this terrible consequence of governance by the greedy. That is what our tax code is...a bunch of exceptions for the uber rich. They got so greedy they have allowed our national infrastructure to degenerate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arkirk View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by funinspace View Post

    Yeah, the US corporate tax rate w/o the 3,372,184 deductions is probably too high. However, US companies are only paying 12-13% on average, and it has been this way for over a decade now. Though it makes for lots of steady work for tax accountants and lawyers...
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/expert-d...axes-are-high/


    What is the actual average tax percentage paid by Swedish companies?
    A couple of little points.... Sweden is not ALL of Scandanavia. Maybe Sweden is a bit too much in oribit around the U.S. The fact remains, healthcare is a right for a Swede whereas in the U.S. it is a gamble if you get health care at all. If they can still afford to provide healthcare and education and other similar necessities of life as rights, that still reflects on the U.S. which is getting a failing grade. If they take the same revenue and do more for the average man, the system is obviously better. Bernie just pointed out some examples were in Scandanavia, that does not mean he has a plan for a carbon copy of your particular outcome.

    If you look at the crazy contorted ACA the U.S. has produced with inputs mainly from big pharma, the insurance companies, hospitals and other ownership interests, you should be glad you can get healthcare without running a gauntlet and being overcharged. As bad as Obamacare is, it still is an improvement over what we had before but it really should go and be replaced by a single payer system. Public health, especially in matters of contagion is a matter of that belongs in the realm of government because of its ability to affect all people. Pharma companies are screwing the American people every day with prices that are totally unreal and just designed for profit (under the old Frank Norris principle...all the traffic will bear). Medical equipment manufacturers are pretty bad too. Actually a society that does not care what happens to the least of its members ends up in a bad way when it comes to health...bad like ours is today.

    Some people don't have a clue and can't begin to understand how good they have it. I count Tammuz in that number.
    Bernie Sanders still seems clueless about how Scandinavian countries actually work.

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