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Bernie Sanders’ Scandinavian Fantasy
Opinion
By Opinion
Published 4 years ago on
February 28, 2020

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says that his proposals “are not radical,” pointing again and again to countries in Northern Europe such as Denmark, Sweden and Norway as examples of the kind of economic system he wants to bring to the United States.
The image he conjures up is of a warm and fuzzy social democracy in which market economics are kept on a tight leash through regulation, the rich are heavily taxed and the social safety net is generous. That is, however, an inaccurate and highly misleading description of those Northern European countries today.
Take billionaires. Sanders has been clear on the topic: “Billionaires should not exist.” But Sweden and Norway both have more billionaires per capita than the United States — Sweden almost twice as many. Not only that, these billionaires are able to pass on their wealth to their children tax-free.
Inheritance taxes in Sweden and Norway are zero, and in Denmark 15 percent. The United States, by contrast, has the fourth-highest estate taxes in the industrialized world at 40 percent.
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