New York Times: Opinion: Joseph E. Stiglitz: Inequality is Not Inevitable
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger
As I've made this point on this blog before comparing the Scandinavian economies with the United States simply does not work. You would be better off comparing Scandinavia with the small Arab states in the Persian Gulf. What do they call have in common? Small populations that are energy independent and produce enough energy for other countries as well. And in Scandinavia's case a lot of land to go with those small populations with all of that energy. To put it simply Scandinavia can afford to be very socialist with high taxes and big centralized government social insurance programs.
America is huge country that is in between two of the largest oceans in the world. With a three-thousand mile border with Canada to the North and a two-thousand mile border with Mexico in the South. We also have three-hundred and fifteen million people and are energy dependent on countries in Scandinavia and the Persian Gulf. And while we are energy dependent countries in Europe and Arabia are dependent on us for their national defense that we as American taxpayers have to pay for. We simply have more limited economic and financial resources right now to be that socialist.
Which means Americans have to do more for themselves and where government comes in is to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to obtain freedom both economic and personal. The freedom to manage their own lives without government to take care of everyone. The freedom to be an individual and not try to turn America into a collectivist socialist state. And that means having universal quality education for all students. And not sending kids to school based on whether they live. But instead based on what is the best school for them that their parents would decide. And not funding schools based on where they are located, but what they need to be successful.
Making job training and education available to all low-skilled adults whether they are currently working or not. So they can get themselves the skills that they need to get themselves a good job and live in freedom as well. And rebuilding this country with a real national infrastructure plan so all communities especially the underdeveloped ones have the resources they need to be economically attractive to business's with good jobs.
You don't close the income and success gap in America by taking from the people who are already economically successful to take care of everyone else. But instead empowering the people who need to get themselves the skills that they need so they too can be successful and make it in America on their own.