Sen. Bernie Sanders, again running for the Democratic presidential nomination for 2020 and the leader in many polls, routinely touts Finland’s socialist type systems – universal basic income and most especially their universal health care system – as systems the U.S. should take a look at and adopt. Just last April, Bernie tweeted: “Take a look at what Finland, the happiest place in the world, is doing. If Finland can provide everyone with health care, send everyone to college for free and provide affordable child care, why can’t the U.S.?”
So I did. I took a look and I must admit, I was very surprised. Perhaps Bernie and many Democrats jumping in on the socialist movement craze he sparked were too because the government of Finland collapsed last week. As the Wall Street Journal reported: “Prime Minister Juha Sipila and the rest of the Finnish cabinet resigned after the governing coalition failed to pass reforms in parliament to the country’s regional government and health services.”
Finland ended its flirtation last spring with universal basic income because it just didn’t work and was unaffordable. Now, failure to reform its spiraling costs of universal health care have led to government collapse.
Much like our aging baby boom generation entering the Social Security retirement benefit stage, Finland faces an aging population with about 26 percent of its citizens over 65 by the year 2030, an increase of 5 percent from today. Very simply, Finland can no longer provide the benefits its politicians have for years been promising.
Similarly, the Washington Free Beacon adds: “It’s not just Finland experiencing such problems with its socialist policies. Other Nordic countries, also touted by American socialists (Democrats) and communists as the model America should follow, are suffering similar economic burdens directly related to their socialist policies. Similar problems are bedeviling Sweden and Denmark, two other countries frequently held up as models to follow on health care.”
Surely, even diehard believer Bernie won’t point to socialist success in Venezuela’s and Cuba’s “free” universal health care systems.
Margaret Thatcher’s old adage – “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money” – seems to be holding true.
I’m surprised (or perhaps I’m not) that this news wasn’t widely reported on network TV or other American media but perhaps it serves as a good reminder for Kansans as Gov. Kelly and her Democrats in the Legislature keep pushing for more spending of your tax dollars for their social programs – Medicaid expansion, free prekindergarten, K-12 education increases and $15 per hour minimum wage laws by 2021.
To paraphrase Bernie’s advice, take a look at what Finland, the happiest place in the world, is doing and realize their government collapsed last week because they couldn’t provide everyone with free health care or send everyone to college for free. Kansas can’t either, but we can learn from Finland’s experiences.
Greg Beck is a Leavenworth Times columnist.