Bernie Sanders, technologist, recently used The Twitter to make what he considers to be a valid argument in the “Is there anything we can’t make free?” campaign, which is probably a warm-up for yet another nauseating series of lectures while he again runs his mouth for something. Like a public office.
Bernie extols us to “take a look” at Finland, which I can’t easily do without socialized medicine providing me with telescopic peepers with which I will look across at least one really big ocean to peer, mindfully, at the Land of Fin.
Finland. Happiest place on earth, according to the UN. This is the same UN that ignored a really unhappy place called Rwanda a few years ago, and I think some hundreds of thousands of people died, but we’re not here to talk about the utility of the UN, are we? We’re here to learn what Bernie Sanders thinks we should all do.
Bernie asks, understandably, because he doesn’t really understand math or even actually want to, why can’t the US be more like Finland?
Well, hey, let’s look at the data:
Population: 5.50 million (2016)
GDP: $251.48 billion USD (2018)
Area: 130,559 sq miles (338,145 km²)
United States of Finland, er, America:
Population: 323.13 million (2016)
GDP: $20.20 trillion USD (2017)
Area: 3.80 million sq miles (9.83 million km²)
So, in comparison:
Population: The US has 64.6 times more people than Finland does. New York City alone has more people than all of Finland, even if you threw in a couple of extra million theoretical Finns.
GDP: The US economy is 79.5 times larger than Finland’s. In terms of GDP, the US is 2nd. Finland is 63rd. Maybe comparing two incomparable countries isn’t a great idea, as a starting point to ask a question on Twitter. It’s like comparing, oh, I don’t know, Karl Marx to Alexis de Tocqueville, and wondering why these two would be unlikely to get along.
Area: From a logistics standpoint, this is relevant – the US is much larger than Finland (sorry, Finland, but size matters), and so trying to draw comparisons to how things work when they’re so different as to be incomparable means you’re Bernie Sanders, the Logical Fallacy Master.
Net migration: What’s not mentioned by Bernie, in his Ode to Finnish Joy, is that, despite Finland’s happiness meter pinging off the charts,
about a quadrillion more people emigrate to the United States each year, I guess because it’s awful and they like to be unhappy in the United States. In fact, from 2007 to 2012, the US had a net migration of just over 5 million people. Finland’s population is 5.4 million. In other words, the United States assimilates a Finland, every 5 years.
Except, of course, that we don’t – Finland is almost 100% native Finlanders. The United States is not. The United States is a melting pot of different ethnicities, with millions of people from all over the world moving here. If Finland is so fantastic, why aren’t millions moving to Finland? Why doesn’t Sanders criticize Finland for its lack of diversity?
Lastly, why is Finland so happy when it’s got an 8.8% unemployment rate? One that was over 10% just a year ago? One of the reasons might be that Finland decided to give all its citizens money, in support of the idea of a basic income:
The basic income program in Finland, which was praised as cutting edge when it was announced, pays $690 to 2,000 Finns each month, with no conditions.
Well, that’s toast:
Finland’s social security institution, Kela, selected participants at random from people ages 25 to 58 who were unemployed. Initially, the program was supposed to be expanded this year to include workers as well as non-workers, but instead the monthly payouts to these individuals will end in 2019.
Why would Finland think a basic income would be a great idea?
The basic income experiment was proposed as a solution to the unemployment rate in Finland, which reached a 17-year high of 10% in 2015. The payouts were designed to support citizens while encouraging them to find work, since the country’s other welfare benefits don’t apply to people once they are employed.
But in December, the Finnish parliament passed a bill that requires jobseekers to work 18 hours minimum for three months, making unemployment benefits contingent on finding some work.
“Right now, the government is making changes that are taking the system further away from a basic income,” Kela researcher Miska Simanainen told the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet.
While 70% of Finns supported the idea of basic income, surveys show that number drops to 35% when respondents are told that already-
high income taxes would have to increase in order to cover the cost of the program.
Oh. Well. Looks like money can’t buy happiness.
Bernie’s idea of a utopian United States, a United States that emulates a country that’s rapidly moving away from the same kinds of ideas Bernie espouses in Congress, seems to be a logical fallacy that even the dimmest bulb on the planet might perceive.
But when you’re living in Socialism Fairyland ™, where each Senator gets what he wants, according to his needs (and Bernie needs 3 houses), then reality doesn’t matter. All that matters is that he can sell these ideas, for votes, and support from people who really don’t understand how wrong Sanders has been, on everything, his entire life.