OPINION: The Cost Of Socialism

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The daily discussion of Socialism’s and Democratic Socialism’s pros and cons on cable news channels and in newspapers has been very interesting to my husband and me. We had the good fortune to take a Baltic Sea cruise recently to many of the countries being used as examples of what can be accomplished under Democratic Socialism. I thought your readers might be interested in information given by local tour guides on our daily 2-3 hour city trips.

In Copenhagen, Denmark the guide informed us that purchasing a new car required paying a 150% tax on it to the government. Therefore, the true cost of a $30,000 vehicle is $75,000 after the $45,000 tax is paid. The number of bicycles used by residents of Copenhagen may be as much a financial decision by a family as the environmental decision usually given as a reason for the large use of them in the city.

The guide in Stockholm, Sweden, also brought up their tax structure during our city tour. Sweden has a cradle to grave care system. She informed us that when a child is born the parents receive $129 every month to purchase food for the child until they are 16 years old. All children can go to university but only those that have high academic ability will be going for free. Parents of children not meeting the academic ability requirements can still send their children to university but will pay for it themselves. In order to pay for these programs along with many others there is a progressive tax system in Sweden. The lowest tax rate is 15% and the guide did not mention if anyone was ever exempted from this lowest rate. The highest rate is 58%. Someone in the front of the bus must have asked the guide’s feelings about paying these tax rates, because she said “We are just used to it.” I wondered, too, myself whether a professional athlete making $10 million in the United States would “get used to” giving $5,800,000 to the government to spend as it wished.

Between now and the upcoming November elections we will be bombarded with promises, accusations, and “misspoken” statements from and about candidates and various programs and projects. Each voter will have to decide if they are willing to “get used to” paying the taxes needed to support cradle to grave programs or if they prefer to vote for another candidate more aligned to their fiscal thinking.


Barbara Kochie


Editor’s note: Some research online showed that the most expensive cars are taxed at 150 percent. Cheaper models are 85 percent. There are more complicated details about this that can be found online. The $30,000 example that the author uses would likely be taxed at 85 percent rather than 150 percent. Still a very large tax, but stated for the sake of accuracy.


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