Sverige är best, säger Adams:

Ernest W. Adams
Ernest W. AdamsI teach in Sweden and go there several times a year.

The top Swedish income tax rate is at 57%. But there’s also a value-added tax of 25% on everything, so goods and services are quite expensive.

But no, I don’t think it has gone over the top. The Swedes place a high value on having a good standard of living for everybody. You don’t see a lot of homeless there. The beggars are all mob-controlled professionals who have been brought in from Eastern Europe; they’re not actually people who are down and out.

One of the key factors is their parental leave and other family-friendly policies. When kids get a good start in life, they’re less likely to grow up to be juvenile delinquents and criminals. When university education is free, money is not stopping you from getting a useful education. And you’re not burdened with mountains of debt when you get out. (You do have loans for your living expenses, but not tuition.) This all works to create more productive members of society, who are net contributors to it rather than a drain on it.

Health care is another huge issue. In the USA we pay enormous sums for health insurance. In Sweden we pay taxes, but don’t need to have health insurance. And the health care costs are far lower because the government buys health care services in bulk and there are no middlemen taking a rake-off. It’s simply a better deal for everyone.

I would rather give up my minuscule chance of being a billionaire for the guarantee that none of my countrymen will go hungry or homeless. I think most Swedes feel the same way. Most Americans apparently do not.