Monday, June 10, 2013

Europe: Conservative or Liberal?

Many Americans seem to assume that European countries are all far more liberal than us in every way. When one person claims that another person wants to make us "more like Europe", they are usually accusing them of being an extreme leftist. However...

  • Relative to our QE and stimulus, most of Europe has responded to the recession with tighter money and fiscal austerity.
  • Our taxes are more progressive than of any European country. In fact, most European countries actually have regressive taxation.
  • European countries, on average, have lower corporate tax rates.
  • Immigration laws are stricter in Europe.
  • Germany has no minimum wage.
  • The Netherlands and Switzerland have no capital gains tax.
  • Sweden has partially privatized their public retirement system, along the lines of what Bush tried to do.
  • Sweden also provides school vouchers to fund education.
  • Firefighting and ambulance services in most of Denmark is provided by a private company.
  • Poland is pro-life.
  • In Switzerland, all health insurance is via private insurance companies (like Paul Ryan's plan to turn Medicare into "vouchers").
  • There's not as much of a separation of church and state in many European countries. In fact, the Norwegian constitution states that their Evangelical-Lutheran church is "Norway's people's church, and is supported by the State". The government funds the church and church administrators are part of the government.
My point is not that Europe is actually conservative. It's just that reality is more complicated that we like to pretend.