In last week's Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation's 2022 Index of Economic Freedom…
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Image of the Day: More Economic Freedom = Higher Standard of Living

In last week's Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation's 2022 Index of Economic Freedom, which shows that Joe Biden has dragged the U.S. down to 22nd, our lowest rank ever (we placed 4th in the first Index in 1995, and climbed back up from 18th to 12th under President Trump).  As we noted, among the Index's invaluable metrics is how it demonstrates the objective correlation between more economic freedom and higher citizen standards of living, which this graphic illustrates:

 …[more]

May 19, 2022 • 12:53 PM

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No, Scandinavia Doesn’t Vindicate Socialism Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, June 13 2019
Despite its unrivaled record of abject failure, socialism maintains a stubborn radical chic appeal among people like Bernie Sanders who are old enough to know better, and a suddenly resurgent popularity among people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who are apparently too young to know better.

"Socialism only works in two places:  Heaven, where they don’t need it, and Hell, where they already have it."  Ronald Reagan

One hundred years since its introduction, socialism stands unrivaled as the single most monstrous, repeatedly discredited governing principle in human history. 

No other political system has been attempted as many times without a single instance of prosperity, in as many diverse geographic locations, with as many varying figureheads zealously committed to its success.  And no other governing system approaches its accumulated tens of millions of humans openly slaughtered in its name, as historian and journalist David Satter noted on the 2017 centenary of Russia’s Bolshevik revolution: 

In total, no fewer than 20 million Soviet citizens were put to death by the regime or died as a direct result of its repressive policies.  This does not include the millions who died in the wars, epidemics and famines that were predictable consequences of Bolshevik policies, if not directly caused by them…  If we add to this list the deaths caused by communist regimes that the Soviet Union created and supported – including those in Eastern Europe, China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia – the total number of victims is closer to 100 million.  That makes communism the greatest catastrophe in human history. 

After so many attempts and so many failures, socialism today represents deprivation, oppression and misery in places like North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, which before Hugo Chavez stood as the most prosperous nation in Latin America. 

Despite its unrivaled record of abject failure, socialism maintains a stubborn radical chic appeal among people like Bernie Sanders who are old enough to know better, and a suddenly resurgent popularity among people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who are apparently too young to know better. 

Today, according to Gallup, a disturbing 57% of Democrats maintain a positive view of socialism, while only 47% view capitalism positively.  And this week, Sanders uncorked a remorseless defense of socialism, bizarrely labeling it “a higher path, a path of compassion, justice and love.” 

Well, apart from its killing fields and corpses stacked like cordwood, and economic interactions commanded by the barrel of a gun, that is. 

Further betraying his disconnect from rationality, Sanders thundered that “we now have an economy that is fundamentally broke and grotesquely unfair.”  Keep in mind that for the first time since recordkeeping began, the number of available jobs in the U.S. now exceeds the number of unemployed. 

Regardless, Sanders and other unembarrassed defenders of socialism must confront its uninterrupted record of failure, and current dystopian crises in socialist Venezuela and North Korea.  Their typical defense is to claim that Scandinavian nations offer better examples of socialism than Cuba or Venezuela. 

For several reasons, however, that rationalization fails. 

First, the standard of living in Scandinavian nations falls substantially below what we enjoy in America. 

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), U.S. per capita household disposable income for 2017 stood at $47,842.  In comparison, Norway stood at $38,302, which was just 80% of the U.S. level.  Sweden’s average was $32,508 (68% of the U.S.), Denmark’s was $31,972 (67%) and Finland's at $31,810 (66%). 

Accordingly, if Mr. Sanders believes that the U.S. economy is “fundamentally broke and unfair,” then what does that make Scandinavia? 

Socialism’s apologists face an even more fundamental problem in attempting to cite Scandinavia, however.  Namely, none of the Scandinavian economies actually qualify as “socialist.”  Each year, the Heritage Foundation issues its Index of Economic Freedom, which in 2019 ranked 180 nations across the globe on a wide array of market criteria.  The bottom three were Cuba at 178, Venezuela at 179 and North Korea last at 180. 

That’s true socialism for you. 
 
In contrast, every one of the Scandinavian nations ranked closer to the top of the Index, in the “Mostly Free” category.  Specifically, Denmark ranked 14th, Sweden was 19th, Finland was 20th and Norway stood at 26th. 

It’s also worth noting that migration patterns between the Scandinavian nations and the U.S. refute any suggestion that they offer socialist paradises with better lifestyles than Americans enjoy.  People vote with their feet, and according to Pew Research, more people move from each of the Scandinavian nations to America than vice-versa.  When adjusted per capita, since the U.S. population far exceeds those Scandinavian nations, that disparity is even more pronounced.  If Scandinavians enjoy better lives than Americans, then why do more of them voluntarily leave for the U.S. than Americans to their shores? 

That’s obviously a question that Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and other advocates of socialism can’t answer. 

They’ll continue falsely citing Scandinavia as a model that America should emulate, but Americans would be wiser to see through their charade. 

 

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How many days does it take the average U.S. household to consume as much electrical power as one single bitcoin transaction?
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"Lawmakers continued to raise concerns about the Internal Revenue Service at a Congressional hearing this week as the agency deals with billions in misspent dollars, hefty processing backlogs, and complaints over poor customer service.Lawmakers lobbed questions at the tax-collecting agency during the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing.'The program has an annual improper payment rate…[more]
 
 
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— Casey Harper, The Center Square
 
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