Paul Ryan Vs. The Swedish Model
No. Not her. The Swedish government model.
But now that I have your attention, William Voegeli explains the deal European welfare states make with their people and the difference between Americans and, say, Swedes.
In Sweden, for example, the world’s most comprehensive welfare state, the most affluent tenth of the income distribution pay 26.7 percent of all taxes. This is virtually identical to their percentage of “all market income,” which is 26.6 percent. (See “Growing Unequal,” a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.) In the United States, by contrast, those in the top tenth pay a portion of all taxes, 45.1 percent, that is a third larger than the portion, 33.5 percent, of the total income they receive. Other famously generous welfare states, such as France, Germany, and Denmark, resemble Sweden, having tax systems far less progressive than America’s.
Why? Because America’s party of the Left must contend with our Don’t Tread on Me Jeffersonianism. To reassure voters more likely than Europe’s to fear ambitious government, the Democrats offer a different package deal: “We’ll build a welfare state that gives things to you, does things for you, and — best of all — someone other than you, someone richer than you, will pay for it.” Thus, Barack Obama promised (as did Hillary Clinton, his 2008 Democratic rival) to expand old social programs and launch new ones without raising any federal tax on any family with an income below $250,000. Having met the easy political challenge, persuading voters to accept government largesse, Democrats have voted “Present” when confronted with the hard part, persuading voters to pay for that largesse. The hard part, however, determines the fiscal feasibility of the easy part.America's middle class gets a lot more in government benefits than we're willing to pay for. And the politicians who get themselves elected by giving us these goodies know if they ask us to pay (higher taxes) we'll toss them out on their ears.
So they run up deficits and debt instead and we let them. Paul Ryan says this has got to stop. He believes the welfare state needs to shrink. And he is willing to cut benefits to future (not current) beneficiaries to see that happen. Obama believes the welfare state needs to grow but refuses to ask the middle-class to pay for all of the wonderful bennies we get.
Democrats hope to allow tax rates to soar on everybody come this January when the Bush tax cuts expire and they hope to blame Republicans for it happening.
What's clear is that when it comes to paying for government, raising taxes on the rich just won't do it. Taxes have to go up on everybody who pays them. And when it comes to income taxes, that's just 52 percent of the American people.
Either you're for higher taxes and bigger government. Or you're for lower taxes and a smaller government. You can't be for both.