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David Brooks makes a point I’ve been screaming about for years:

When you include both direct spending and tax expenditures, the U.S. has one of the biggest welfare states in the world. We rank behind Sweden and ahead of Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and Canada. Social spending in the U.S.is far above the organization’s average

In other words, it is quite possible that in the US the government is as large if not larger than in many other places. And one reason why the European social democracies may work better is that they are actually smaller and more importantly more consistent with the rule of law and transparency.

Brooks should have gone further. In the US, with every union job that has been lost, a person covered by an occupation license has increased. In the US we have taxes, spending and regulation at three levels of government. We have GSE’s that are not on the government’s balance sheet. We have implicit guarantees for private and state pensions (at least a trillion in the red right now). It would be a “fun” exercise if someone were to put together a list of all the shadow socialism we have here, you’d be busy.

2 Responses to “What We Are Versus What We Say We Are, Edition 65844254”

  1. Michael says:

    Would we need to balance it out with the fascistic things that are the reverse of socialistic distribution? I’m thinking Kelo v. New London. What a terrible mess we’ve made.

  2. Harry says:

    Fascism is socialism that is politically incorrect. Both Kelo and Dolan vs the City of Tigard, plus thousands of other appropriations of property in the name of the state operate on the same principle. But yes, every time our rights are trampled, whether or not they make it to federal court.

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