The Nordic countries draw attention from democratic socialists in America thanks to their high tax rates, strong welfare states, and supposedly tight regulation of enterprise. The final indicator, however, is not exactly true: every single Nordic country except Finland ranks in the top ten on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, and they maintain high positions on the Tax Competitiveness Index. But if Progressives argue that Scandinavia is indeed a socialist region, then they must admit that the following countries are just as, and if not, more socialistic: Italy, France, and Greece.
None of these three countries are ones which they refer to in order to demonstrate the benefits of their economic agenda. In fact, thanks to their low living standards, high rates of unemployment, and stagnant incomes, extreme illiberal, ultranationalist right-wing movements have thrived in every single one of these countries. Let’s examine each one.
Article by Eben Macdonald from Mises.
Tax take is 42 percent of Italy’s GDP, higher than both Finland and Norway, and substantially greater than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average. Social expenditure is 28 percent, practically identical to Nordic levels. The country ranks a hopeless fifty-eighth on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, far lower than every single nation in Scandinavia. Furthermore, Italy has the least competitive tax system in the OECD, according to the Tax Foundation. Italy’s taxes and welfare spending are of Nordic style, and businesses are far more regulated. If the Nordic countries are socialist, so is Italy.
Yet is Italy considered to be more prosperous than the United States, or a poster child for a successful socialist system? Far from it. Pew Research Center gives us the following statistics: were Italy to become a part of the US, and thus adhere to US income metrics, 53 percent of Italians would inhabit the “low-income category,” as opposed to the American rate of 26 percent; and since 1990, Italy’s median household disposable income has declined by one-fifth.
Pew Research Center aside, OECD data show that Italy’s standard of living is substantially below America’s. The US ranks tenth on their Better Life Index—Italy ranks twenty-fourth. And data from The Economist magazine which attempt to apply the Better Life Index within countries by socioeconomic category find that someone in the top 10 percent of the Italian income spectrum has a standard of living no higher than someone in the bottom 10 percent of the US income spectrum. Moreover, in 2019, before the pandemic, their unemployment rate stood at 10 percent. Clearly, economic recovery from the 2008 crisis has not been easy.
Tax take is 45 percent of the French economy, the second highest in the OECD, just below Denmark. Social expenditure is 31 percent, higher than every single Nordic country, and the highest in the OECD. The country ranks thirty-second place both on the Ease of Doing Business Index and on the Tax Competitiveness Index. If the Nordic countries are socialist, France is even more so.
But does one often hear progressives lauding the welfarism and bureaucracy of the French system? Not at all. By US standards, a third of French people live in the low-income category, not as high as Italy, but still higher than the US average. Unemployment in France has fluctuated wildly over the years—perhaps a sign of fiscal instability. It reached a rate of 12 percent in the 1990s, but had declined to 7 percent by 2008, just as the global economy was collapsing. Having risen to 10 percent in 2015, it declined to 8 percent in 2019—lower than in Italy, but still shockingly high.
How does France fare on the Better Life Index? Not well. Ranking eighteenth place, it performs better than Italy, but nevertheless substantially below the United States. The Economist’s statistics reinforce this, pointing out that a Frenchman in the top 10 percent of their country’s socioeconomic pyramid is not particularly better off than someone in the bottom 10 percent of America’s.
Greece draws special attention for a particular reason. It demonstrates the danger which excessive debt and spending can pose to the overall economy. As other countries in Europe and North America clambered out of recession, the Greek economy continued to deteriorate. Between 2008 and 2013, the unemployment rate rose from 7 percent to 27 percent. Since then, it has declined to 15 percent, but the point is that Greek workers have suffered far too much thanks to fiscal recklessness: in 2008, Greek’s deficit was 10 percent of its GDP, so bondholders were not willing to lend any more money to the government for them to fund large stimulus packages.
Thus, the Greek economy was drained of capital and had a prolonged depression. Its fiscal infrastructure collapsed even further: debt was 100 percent of GDP in 2008; in 2011, it was 172 percent. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom, another country burdened by a high deficit, chose to cut spending, which, while unpopular, has enabled the economy to recover and avoid a debt-ridden catastrophe.
That aside, the Greek economy is undoubtedly overregulated and overtaxed, while welfare spending is indeed very high: social expenditure is 24 percent of GDP, similar to most Nordic countries; tax take is 38.7 percent of GDP, which, while the lowest rate among the countries examined here and lower than the other Nordic countries, is still significantly higher than the OECD average.
On the Ease of Doing Business Index, however, Greece ranks by far the lowest of these three countries, in seventy-ninth place; it seems there is more red tape in Greece than in Vietnam, a formerly Communist country. But at least they rank twenty-ninth on the Tax Competitiveness Index, higher than the two other countries examined.
Unfortunately, the Pew Research Center has not focused on Greece much—nor has The Economist. However, other institutions have. As always, on the Better Life Index, Greece ranks thirty-sixth, out of forty countries. Greece’s median household disposable income is a paltry $17,700 a year, far below America’s $45,000.
Essentially, progressive politicians and economists are guilty of cherry-picking countries: while wanting to emulate the Nordic countries, which they claim to be socialist—the same countries which are just as easy to conduct business in as the United States—they ignore these three countries, Italy, France and Greece, which are, by most metrics, more socialist than the Nordics. Because their living standards are incomparable with the United States’s and, in some cases, akin to the Third World, they are rarely used as examples of socialist triumph.
Big Pharma’s Five Major Minions that Everyone, Vaxxed or Unvaxxed, Must Oppose
This is not an “anti-vaxxer” article, per se. It’s a call for everyone to wake up to the nefarious motives behind vaccine mandates, booster shots, and condemnation of freedom.
The worst kept secret in world history SHOULD be that the unquenchable push for universal vaccinations against Covid-19 has little if anything to do with healthcare and everything to do with Big Pharma’s influence over the narrative. Unfortunately, that secret has stayed firmly hidden from the vast majority of people because of the five major minions working on behalf of Big Pharma.
What’s even worse is the fact that Big Pharma’s greed is merely a smokescreen to hide an even darker secret. We’ll tackle that later. First, let’s look at the public-facing ringleaders behind the vaccine push, namely Big Pharma. But before we get into their five major minions, it’s important to understand one thing. This is NOT just an article that speaks to the unvaccinated. Even those who believe in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines must be made aware of agenda that’s at play.
Let’s start with some facts. The unvaccinated do NOT spread Covid-19 more rampantly than the vaccinated. Even Anthony Fauci acknowledged the viral load present in vaccinated people is just as high as in the unvaccinated. This fact alone should demolish the vaccine mandates as it demonstrates they have absolutely no effect on the spread of the disease. But wait! There’s definitely more.
This unhinged push to vaccinate everyone defies science. Those with natural immunity may actually have their stronger defenses against Covid-19 hampered by the introduction of the injections which fool the body into creating less-effective antibodies. Moreover, the push to vaccinate young people is completely bonkers. The recovery rate for those under the age of 20 is astronomical. Children neither contract, spread, nor succumb to Covid-19 in a statistically meaningful way. What they DO succumb to more often than Covid-19 are the adverse reactions to the vaccines, particularly boys.
All of this is known and accepted by the medical community, yet most Americans are still following the vaccinate-everybody script. It requires pure cognitive dissonance and an overabundant need for confirmation bias to make doctors and scientists willingly go along with the program. Yet, here we are and that should tell you something.
Before I get to the five major minions of of Big Pharma, I must make the plea for help. Between cancel culture, lockdowns, and diminishing ad revenue, we need financial assistance in order to continue to spread the truth. We ask all who have the means, please donate through our GivingFuel page or via PayPal. Your generosity is what keeps these sites running and allows us to expand our reach so the truth can get to the masses. We’ve had great success in growing but we know we can do more with your assistance.
Who does Big Pharma control? It starts with the obvious people, the ones who most Americans believe are actually behind this push. Our governments at all levels as well as governments around the world are not working with Big Pharma. They are working for Big Pharma. Some are proactive as direct recipients of cash. Others may oppose Big Pharma in spirit but would never speak out because they know anyone who does has no future in DC.
This may come as a shock to some, but it’s Big Pharma that drives the narrative and sets the agenda for the “experts” at the CDC, FDA, WHO, NIH, NIAID, and even non-medical government organizations.
Most believe it’s the other way around. They think that Big Pharma is beholden to the FDA for approval, but that’s not exactly the case. They need approval for a majority of their projects, but when it comes to the important ones such as the Covid injections, Big Pharma is calling the shots. They have the right people in the right places to push their machinations forward.
That’s not to say that everyone at the FDA is in on it. Big Pharma only needs a handful of friendlies planted in leadership in order to have their big wishes met. We have seen people quitting the FDA in recent weeks for this very reason. The same can be said about the other three- and five-letter agencies. Too many people in leadership have been bribed, bullied, or blackmailed into becoming occasional shills for the various Big Pharma corporations. Some have even been directly planted by Big Pharma. That’s the politics of healthcare and science that drives such things as Covid-19 “vaccines.”
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JD Rucker – EIC