Free Markets, Free People

Let’s make the US like Germany … er, Mississippi?

The “social democracy” or “democratic socialism” model that many of the left want so badly is showing it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  For instance:

Since Sweden is held up as a sort of promised land by American socialists, let’s compare it first. We find that, if it were to join the US as a state, Sweden would be poorer than all but 12 states, with a median income of $27,167.
Median residents in states like Colorado ($35,830), Massachusetts ($37,626), Virginia ($39,291), Washington ($36,343), and Utah ($36,036) have considerably higher incomes than Sweden.
With the exception of Luxembourg ($38,502), Norway ($35,528), and Switzerland ($35,083), all countries shown would fail to rank as high-income states were they to become part of the United States. In fact, most would fare worse than Mississippi, the poorest state.
Oh, my!  Say it ain’t so, Bernie!
Germany, Europe’s economic powerhouse, has a median income ($25,528) level below all but 9 US states. Finland ranks with Germany in this regard ($25,730), and France’s median income ($24,233) is lower than both Germany and Finland. Denmark fares better and has a median income ($27,304) below all but  13 US states.
And Mississippi? Well, when adjusted for purchasing power, we find a funny thing (heh … I couldn’t help myself):
Now that we’ve accounted for the low cost of living in Mississippi, we find that Mississippi ($26,517) is no longer the state with the lowest median income in real terms. New York ($26,152) is now the state with the lowest median income due to its very high cost of living.
More importantly, when the European countries are adjusted for purchasing power, they fare even worse:
Once purchasing power among the US states is taken into account, we find that Sweden’s median income ($27,167) is higher than only six states: Arkansas ($26,804), Louisiana ($25,643), Mississippi ($26,517), New Mexico ($26,762), New York ($26,152) and North Carolina ($26,819).
We find something similar when we look at Germany, but in Germany’s case, every single US state shows a higher median income than Germany. Germany’s median income is $25,528. Things look even worse for the United Kingdom which has a median income of $21,033, compared to $26,517 in Mississippi.
So? So, myth busted.  If you want everyone to be the equal of  … well, now, New York … just listen to the siren song of social democracy. High taxes, marginal benefits and low purchasing power.  When you can’t even point to them being better than Mississippi in terms of median income, maybe it would be better not to hold up European social democracies as something to “strive” to be like.
~McQ
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22 Responses to Let’s make the US like Germany … er, Mississippi?

  • It’s morally superior because the intent behind it is purer. Results are like facts. What does that have to do with what’s in our hearts?
    Democratic Socialism

  • Isn’t this where we say if we did it here, it would be done better?

    Oh, right,
    Mississippi,
    uh, right.

    Well, I guess if you set the bar there.

  • Yeah, but they have better beer. Not an inconsequential thing.

    • I’m sure Mississippi has some local brew in Memphis that’s made from the waters of the mighty Miss itself.
      Probably full of the deep character of Merica.

      • “Probably full of the deep character of Merica.”

        Given how many millions of people live upstream, I am sure that is true.

  • Except, of course, a statistic like that tells very little in terms of quality of life, what services are provided free, and whether more people are wealthier due to income equality rather than some being very wealthy and others very poor. Most importantly, satisfaction with their system and quality of life (look at American indices of ‘right way or wrong way’ and compare that with European states) aren’t considered. This is what in social science terms is using one statistic to make a misleading claim.

    • “….whether more people are wealthier due to income equality…..”, that makes no sense. Do you mean “whether more people FEEL wealthier because there are not large disparities among earners? Please parse for me. Thanks.

    • “Income equality” is a poor measuring tool. There is “income equality” .. and there is “income equality.”
      Does “income equality” show that everybody is poor or that some people are able to break out of their “class”.
      Or is it just a tool …

      James Michael Curley, a four-time mayor of Boston, used wasteful redistribution to his poor Irish constituents and incendiary rhetoric to encourage richer citizens to emigrate from Boston, thereby shaping the electorate in his favor.
      As a consequence, Boston stagnated, but Curley kept winning elections. We present a model of using redistributive politics to shape the electorate, and show that this model yields a number of predictions opposite from the more standard frameworks of political competition, yet consistent with empirical evidence.

      • You shouldn’t aspire to be in another class, you should accept the class you’re in, and endeavor to do well in it.
        People who try and change who they were born to be cause societal conflicts and upheavals and should be discouraged from thinking too highly of themselves and wanting too much.
        Constantly trying to become something you’re not meant to be will only disturb the social order and make you and your loved ones and others around you unhappy.
        Soon, you have many big fish in small ponds, and that cannot work out well.
        Best not to dream and yearn for such things.

      • That was surprisingly easy, maybe I should aspire to be a commissar.

    • “This is what in social science terms is ”

      What does social science say about “free services”? And while you are at it, wtf does this mean:

      “whether more people are wealthier due to income equality rather than some being very wealthy and others very poor.”

      • …wtf does this mean: “whether more people are wealthier due to income equality rather than some being very wealthy and others very poor.”

        It means there are people who effectively prefer that everyone be equally miserable rather than seeing a system where some become very rich. They don’t actually realize that – they just don’t understand that a system where people can get very rich is the system that produces the innovations that are an integral part of their lives, and the high growth that makes a society rich beyond the dreams of people a century ago.

        They are also under the delusion that a low-growth egalitarian society is long-term stable. If they understood the exponential effect of low-growth vs. high-growth, they would know better, but most of them understand calculus about as well as Kim Kardashian does.

        • “It means there are people who effectively prefer that everyone be equally miserable rather than seeing a system where some become very rich. ”

          An ozzie friend described it for me – tall poppy syndrome. Where you do your best to keep the achievers from achieving

    • whether more people are wealthier due to income equality rather than some being very wealthy and others very poor

      >>>> You say income inequality like it’s a bad thing. I imagine you get paid more than the minimum wage the dishwasher gets in your average restaurant, and I further imagine you’re ok with that.

      More to the point though, people like you really don’t want true income equality. Because the world is shockingly poor. You want to get TRUE income equality? Then we need to average it out with all the dirt poor living on $2 a year and living in squalid garbage dumps in slums and favelas in the rest of the non-western world. And let me tell you something, when you get income equality with everyone, the wage is gonna be MUCH MUCH closer to the dirt peddler living in the slum than to even the dishwasher in Maine.

      But continue to ignore that though. Check your white, western privilege.

      • A fair number of people chose to sit around getting stoned or drunk and be young shambling disasters when they should be learning to do something useful with their lives.
        Living off their parents or relatives until they pass away or they get booted out.

        Years later when they’re old shambling disasters we’re supposed to feel bad and pony up to keep them in beer and food because they were ‘less fortunate’.

    • satisfaction with their system and quality of life (look at American indices of ‘right way or wrong way’ and compare that with European states)

      The “right way or wrong way” question is about satisfaction with government, not quality of life.

    • Go grocery shopping in Germany or Austria. Buy me some avocados. Tell me how that works out.

  • One of the things I most strongly oppose about the T-rump we understand is his love of a COMMAND ECONOMY.

    Those never work. Well, they work SWELL for crony capitalists, but not for the rest of us.