Sweden’s Shrinking State

Ah, Sweden, the very mention of it will often bring about the phrase ‘liberal paradise’. The land where healthcare is free, everyone lives long lives, and there’s no crime or violence, despite huge taxes and a massive public government.

All of it sounds wonderful except: it hasn’t been that way since the early 1990′s and its government is shrinking by the day.

Yes, this ‘paradise’, it seems, has been deregulating and lowering both taxes and spending for the past 20 years at a rate that’s absolutely astonishing. This myth of the ‘perfect state’ has come about due to a few things:

  1. Between 1850-1950, Sweden had one of the fastest growing economies in the world, it amassed massive capital, and was largely unregulated.
  2. Between 1950 to 1980, all the state programs began with the huge surpluses they had, and marginal taxation skyrocketed to 70% – this is the liberal paradise that people mention. Times were good, really, but it was unsustainable.
  3. Starting in the 1990s, the ‘banking crisis’ occurred where banks collapsed, the healthcare system utterly failed, killing thousands, and the entire financial system started to collapse on itself. Spending as a percentage of GDP  was at an all time high of 71.1% (for reference, the US now spends 103%). The education system was on the verge of collapse and many, many jobs evaporated overnight.
  4. Sweden went from 4th richest OECD country to the 16th in the span of 20 years.

Strangely, no big government advocate seems to know of the 1990′s Swedish banking crisis. It’s in plain view: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Sweden#Crisis_of_the_1990s and is a well studied piece of history in Sweden itself. The reasons are clear: big government intervention. Sweden, instead of continuing to go down the bad course, actually did something that is rarely done: they reversed course.

In 1994, following the banking crisis, massive market reform came down and entire industries were deregulated. Private schools were started, a voucher system was put in place, and largely, the majority of top performing schools in Sweden are for profit. The banking system was deregulated, many services were cut, taxes lowered, and spending as a percentage of GDP was cut from 71.1% to 53.3% an overall reduction of the state by over 30%.

Even the citizens are wanting less state provided healthcare. A rise of private insurance has been growing in Sweden, In 2011 about 440,000 people had private health care insurance in the country of 9.5 million (source: http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/22/socialist-swedes-take-to-private-health). If this public paradise was so great, why is it radically moving towards privatizing and deregulation faster than the US is moving towards socialization? Now, Sweden is still less ‘free’ than what most libertarians would wish, but it does show that a country can turn itself around and that even the most praised ‘ideal liberal states’ are not immune to the ill effects of big government.

For more reading on the subject, an article that appeared in Forbes does a great job going into more detail: http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2012/05/13/look-to-sweden-obamas-high-tax-gurus/

A new gov’t regulation every 2.5 hours

According to a report obtained by the National Review, government regulatory agencies produce another regulation, on average, every two hours – which, if the pace is kept through the end of 2013, puts the number of new regulations at more than 3,600.

“They have no incentives to even make sure that these regulations are needed, appropriately addressing a problem, or not causing more harm than good. The result is more and more regulations,” wrote the National Review.

According to the report obtained by the National Review:

  • Last week, 66 new final regulations were published in theFederal Register. There were 78 new final rules the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 33 minutes.
  • All in all, 3,186 final rules have been published in the Federal Register this year.
  • If this keeps up, the total tally for 2013 will be 3,604 new final rules.
  • Last week, 1,689 new pages were added to the 2013 Federal Register, for a total of 68,313 pages.
  • At its current pace, the 2013 Federal Register will run 77,278 pages, which would be good for fifth all time. The current record is 81,405 pages, set in 2010.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year.  No such rules were published last week, keeping the total at 35 so far in 2013.
  • The total estimated compliance costs of this year’s economically significant regulations ranges from $6.42 billion to $11.82 billion.
  • So far, 289 final rules that meet the broader definition of “significant” have been published in 2013.
  • So far this year, 629 final rules affect small business; 86 of them are significant rules

Read the entire report.

Let’s not “try again” with Obamacare, please

The old saw about “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again” may seem appropriate to the democrats dilemma with Obamacare, but, it isn’t. 

I would be laughing my bippy off — rolling on the floor, holding my sides in uproarious laughter, save for one thing:  the Obamacare mess is so darned serious! 

This scribe, along with a few thousand others, warned for years,  years mind you, that all these problems WOULD occur if Obamacare became law.

We were laughed at, hooted down, made the punch line of off-color jokes, and generally derided for our temerity to even question the superior intellect of Obama and his coterie of brainy brats and computer models and their exclusive circle of leftist whiz kids all with the common purpose of saving us –  the lowly peons of the proletariat  – from ourselves.

Well, they failed… failed miserably.  And we have God to thank for it.

As my family gathers round the Thanksgiving table in a few days, I intend to offer thanks to God for all the blessings of the past year — among them His interference in the machinations of the wicked political left as they have so forcefully attempted to curtail and deny Americans the rights granted us by God, Himself, through the entanglement of a law spawned in the deepest, darkest, bowels of Hell, itself, Obamacare. 

And NO.  I am not kidding.  I feel THAT strongly about the dangers to myself, my family, and my country presented by Obamacare.

Have you wondered just WHY the government is having so much trouble setting up Obamacare and getting it running?   There is a very good reason why they are failing so miserably.

See, the government of the United States was NEVER intended to do such a thing. It was not devised by the minds of the Founding Fathers to run the lives of its people.

When America was founded, the LAST THING Americans wanted was a strong central government. They fought a revolution to rid themselves of just such a government.

America was never intended as a nation of people who were wards of the government.  That’s one reason our laws were centered onindividual freedoms.  

The Founding Fathers — and all early Americans – simply understood that Americans were responsible for themselves.  They knew there was no such thing as a “right” to healthcare.  Had one raised the question one would have been laughed down as a complete idiot back then. 

Yes, Americans have rights.  They are  the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. And that’s it! 

The people who founded this country knew there was a demarcation line, a conceptual separation, if you will,  between governing and meddling in the lives of their citizens.  They also knew that government meddling would end in reduced freedoms for the citizens of the country.  So,  they deliberately stayed their hand to leave us the most free people on the globe. 

At first that list of guaranteed rights for American may seem short.  Ask yourself why ONLY those rights were codified in our laws.  Then consider this:  “Why only THESE? Observe that all legitimate rights have one thing in common: they are rights to action, not to rewards from other people. The American rights impose no obligations on other people, merely the negative obligation to leave you alone. The system guarantees you the chance to work for what you want—not to be given it without effort by somebody else.” (Emphasis mine)   SOURCE:  http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?id=13873

Am I saying that they (the early Americans) were smarter than modern Americans?  Yes, in fact, I am. They were certainly better educated and far more intelligent than most of our intelligentsia today.   And as smart politicians go, they were light years ahead of the Washington brain trusts in our government today.

America’s government was never supposed to do what the ACA (Affordable Care Act — aka– Obamacare) calls for it to do today.

Americans were intended to be FREE!  The ACA slaps a ball and chain on EVERY American – effectively stripping Americans of the right to think for themselves, fend for themselves, and be responsible human beings and good citizens.

Not even completely out of the starting chute yet and already Obamacare is a massive failure.  It will only get worse.

Now the political left is offering up every possible explanation as to why it isn’t working and offering all sorts of “fixes” for it.

Now they want to “reform” it.  BEWARE!  Reforming Obamacare will only make it worse.  

Obamacare MUST be REPEALED, not reformed. If Americans wish to save their country, they must repeal Obamacare – and forget any sort of socialized medicine for America.

Look.  Let me make it as plain as I know how:  We can have either America or socialized medicine.  WE CANNOT HAVE BOTH.

Despite massive spending, underachievement prevails

r-SAN-FRANCISCO-MINIMUM-WAGE-HIKE-large570Did you know that the number of people on food stamps has grown over the past 13 years by nearly 30 million, which accounts for almost 20% of households receiving taxpayer-funded food subsidies?  At the same time, the federal government is spending more per household than ever before – in fact, a 152 percent increase since 1965.

Our middle class is shrinking – the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, due in large part to insanely complex government rules and regulations that only those with resources can bypass.  In fact, the top 7% of households own 63% of the nation’s wealth.  During the so-called economy recovery, the other 93% of families lost wealth, putting into question the effectiveness of big spending government stimulus packages and who, in reality, the recovery truly helped.

ABC News reports that nearly 50 million people in the United States live in poverty, but yet, most Americans view our nation as the most prosperous in the world, fundamentally superior to our foreign counterparts despite our poor education system, insanely expensive healthcare industry and THE biggest government that we’ve ever had.

In fact, our healthcare system spends twice as much per person than any other developed nation in the world, a cost that accounts for more than 16% of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  Our healthcare spending has increased at twice the rate of inflation, but yet our pharmaceuticals continue to kill and emergency rooms remain clogged with people using it as their primary care service.

A much-maligned segment of the population, the top 1% of income earners in the country have a greater net worth than the bottom 90% put together.  Perhaps this is due to nearly a quarter of all jobs in the United States that pay a wage of less than $10/hour.

Worse, spending in Washington continues to grow, more than it ever has despite record tax revenues.  Federal politicians managed to rack up $755 billion in deficits through the first eleven months of 2013′s fiscal year.  Spending during the same period amounted to a whopping $3.2 trillion.

Now, the government wants to take over healthcare.  Already the most expensive healthcare system in the entire world, the 10,500-page Obamacare monstrosity has authorized the government to spend even more money.  The new healthcare system’s broken Healthcare.gov web site cost the American taxpayer $634 million to build.  Obamacare has caused many insurance companies to cancel policies and create more expensive alternatives.  Premiums have risen and job hours have decreased to sub-30 hours to avoid Obamacare penalties.

The evidence of the big government effect is clear and overwhelming, and it is costing the American taxpayer trillions of dollars in reckless spending.  Both the Democrats and Republicans represent the cause of these problems, and our nation will never truly fix our ailing spending habits until we replace those responsible for it.

Obamacare has already failed, and Americans hate failures

AP120326046410Socialized medicine (Obamacare) may seem like a good thing to you; unless you are sick, even less so if you are chronically ill.

We have been warning of the dangers, and the short comings, of socialized medicine for a very long time and now we have had it rammed down our throats by the democrats.  Remember — NOT A SINGLE REPUBLICAN VOTED FOR OBAMACARE!  Nary a one!

Given a choice between healthcare run by the government and keeping my private insurance and paying the premiums and going to see the doctor I want to see, and not some civil servant working for the government healthcare system, I’ll take the latter any day. In fact, the choice for me is a “no-brainer.”

Since 1965 I have been hospitalized over 80 times. I have had numerous surgeries and I must see a doctor every four to six weeks of my life. See, I KNOW the value of a good healthcare system and I know, first hand, the value of having a doctor, in whom I have confidence, treating me. I know what it means to have a rapport with your physician.  That, alone, is tremendously important when you are chronically ill.

Unlike a lot of folks, when I think of nationalized healthcare, I perceive a threat to my life.  I have no doubt that the introduction of socialized healthcare (Obamacare) in the US will shorten my life and bring it to a termination much sooner than currently expected.  In fact, I have no doubt about it.  There are millions of Americans, just like me, who will have their lives shortened by Obamacare.

Nevertheless, it IS here.

The start-up problems with Obamacare are, I suspect, diverting attention away from what’s really going on.

Look. Obamacare is going to fail.   I know, I know.  But I assure you, it is not just wishful thinking on my part.

Obamacare was designed to fail.  It MUST fail for the complete program of socialized medicine in America to be established.

It was hoped that Obamacare, like a drug, would addict enough Americans that when it crashes there will be a ready made demand for a national healthcare system of some kind to replace it.

The replacement?  A single payer national healthcare system.  That is the second part of the assault on American’s healthcare.

Under a single-payer system, everyone in the country would have health coverage provided by the government, and private insurance largely would cease to exist. Like Medicare, the government would act as the insurer; doctors and hospitals would operate privately, receiving payments from public funds under such a nationalized health insurance system. SOURCE:  http://www.factcheck.org/2009/12/public-option-vs-single-payer/

A single payer healthcare system is what the socialist in the Democratic Party REALLY want.

I came across an excellent article entitled: “The Myths of Single-Payer Health Care” by David Hogberg that I recommend you read.  You’ll find it at:  http://www.freemarketcure.com/singlepayermyths.php#1

In his article Mr. Hogberg explains:  ” Everyone in a single-payer system has health insurance, not necessarily health care.

While the government in a single-payer system will pay for everyone’s health care, it limits the access to health care. In a single-payer system, citizens often believe that “the government” is paying for their health care. When people perceive that someone else is paying for something, they tend to over-use it. In a single-payer health care system, people over-use health care. This puts strain on government health care budgets, and to contain costs governments must ration care.

Governments in a single-payer system ration care using waiting lists for surgery and diagnostic procedures and by canceling surgeries. As the Canadian Supreme Court said upon ruling unconstitutional a Quebec law that banned private health care, “access to a waiting list is not access to health care.”  SOURCE:  http://www.freemarketcure.com/singlepayermyths.php#1

Just as predicted, Obamacare is a Frankenstein monster and growing uglier every day of its continued existence.  Already, it is taking a toll on the democrats.  The President’s approval rating is down, at this writing, to 37% and expected to fall even more.

Democrats claim Obamacare is “settled Law.”  I would remind you that Prohibition was settled law, as well.   It took us thirteen years to rid ourselves of that albatross. But we did it.  And – we can do it again. 

In the meantime, the one political party making an attempt to save America from the excesses of Obamacare is being savaged by Americans for shutting down the government in an attempt rescue America from Obamacare.

At the moment the GOP is being creamed — but– I have a hunch that when the smoke settles we are going to see a resurgent GOP as the American electorate FINALLY understands that all this pain was brought to them by the Democratic Party and ONLY the Democratic Party.  

In a little over a year, Americans will be going to the polls again.  By that time, they should be well — and truly — fed up with Obamacare and those who foisted it off on them.  If the GOP has any spirit left, it will do everything in its power to remind the electorate that the Republican Party stands ready to rid America of the plague of Obamacare.  

This will be a two-step solution.  Three years hence, the GOP should put forth a conservative candidate, not a moderate, not a RINO, but a CONSERVATIVE candidate for President to have any chance, at all, against Hillary Clinton.

As we said above, it took thirteen years to repeal Prohibition.  If the GOP can win in the next two elections they can overturn Obamacare in less time.  If not, it will take considerably longer and inflict far more pain on the American people.

Recent polls show that over 80% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the government is governing the country.  Congressional approval is down to only 5%. History teaches us that things happen when Americans get mad – and they/we are outraged.

In almost 240 years America has had numerous threats to her freedom and liberties. But we have never had a more dangerous threat than Obamacare.

We MUST remove this threat to our once great nation.