Hooray for Finland!

Do people really have fins in Finland or only the fish there?  Whatever, Finland scored #1 in best places to live in the world.  Switzerland was #2 while the U.S. was a distant #11 on Newsweek’s list of the Best Countries in the World.

Here are the top 25 the World’s Best Countries, according to Newsweek:

1. Finland
2. Switzerland
3. Sweden
4. Australia
5. Luxembourg
6. Norway
7. Canada
8. Netherlands
9. Japan
10. Denmark
11. United States
12. Germany
13.  New Zealand
14. United  Kingdom
15. South Korea
16. France
17. Ireland
18. Austria
19. Belgium
20. Singapore
21. Spain
22. Israel
23. Italy
24. Slovenia
25.  Czech Republic

Canada, eh?  That long-standing joke about emigrating to Canada for political reasons may not be so far off as one imagines.

What were the categories? Education, Health, Quality of Life, Economic Dynamism and Political Environment.  The Newsweek article says, “The winners are quite a varied group, and have found myriad ways to create vibrant, healthy, and (dare we say) happy societies. That’s a nugget of wisdom that leaders and policymakers would do well to keep in mind as they try to score better in years ahead.”

Happy societies.  Imagine that!  I’m trying hard to.

Disgruntled Tea Party activists display ugly signs and listen to radical narrow-minded speakers who spew hate and disgust for our government and its leaders. Is it no wonder, then, that our nation didn’t make the top ten?  I think not.

Newsweek continues:

“America hasn’t recovered from the serious blows to its stature delivered by nearly a decade of policy debacles. As Obama never tires of reminding the American public—which is listening less and less, judging by his poll ratings—he inherited a Herculean task: the Augean-stable-size mess left behind by George W. Bush. First there was the diversion of military resources and attention from Afghanistan to Iraq—a draining, misdirected war and occupation that many believe never should have been launched. Then there was the long period of fiscal, regulatory, and financial recklessness that contributed to the worst-ever downturn since the Great Depression.”

Is THAT what makes the Tea Party so angry?  Is it displaced anger? Are they really mad at Bush and Cheney for the war mentality as well as the financial deregulation mess?  Is that the root of this anger?  And they don’t know how to purge themselves, so a black President who is left-of center is the perfect scapegoat?  I think so.

Back to the list.  Is it not interesting that the top 10 all may be chided by the Tea Party as being ‘socialist’ nations?  In each, the citizens pay a far-higher percentage of taxes than we do here in America. Yet the Tea Party whines about taxes as stated in their acronym, Taxed enough Already.

Use your mouse to hover over the name of a country on this link, and watch the white dot move for each of the categories:  LINK Notice especially the ‘health’ and ‘education’  graph and how well the top ten performs in these two categories compared to the United States.

And the Tea Party wants to overturn the so-called Obamacare and many want to close the Department of Education!

So I am left with the impression that the goals of the Tea Party are nearly the opposite of what this nation ought to be striving for if it wants to catch up with the 10 nations ranked above us. To me the Tea Party represents Luddites who want to turn this nation backwards into the past. What else can one conclude from this data?

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14 thoughts on “Hooray for Finland!

  1. Finland has seemed to score #1 consistently for the four years.
    It is a small country, it is place where not everyone would want to live, but this has enabled it to use its resources in the most positive way for it’s population.
    It seems to have a relatively independent economy and a relatively uncorrupt government. 4 of the countries in the top 10 are the most northern countries in Europe and decidedly socialist as to how they consider their responsibility to their countrymen.
    Remember, it is how we treat the least of us that reflects upon and enobles the rest of us.

  2. The tea party doesn’t qualify as Luddites since Luddites were people who protested the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, usually by destroying industrial machinery (Where the term “spanner in the works” comes). In recent years, the terms Luddism and Luddite or Neo-Luddism and Neo-Luddite have become synonymous with anyone who opposes the advance of technology due to the cultural and socioeconomic changes that are associated with it. You may be referring to theLuddites’ anti-modernistic tendencies, but they were more against mass production.

    The tea party does qualify as being a reactionary movement since they wish to go back to some bizarre golden age that never existed.

    As you correctly state:
    the goals of the Tea Party are nearly the opposite of what this nation ought to be striving for if it wants to catch up with the 10 nations ranked above us.

    Pretty much every nation that ranks above the US would be described by the tea partiers as socialist.

    If anything, tea party policies will push the US further toward the bottom as the desparity in wealth and living standard becomes more and more pronounced.

  3. “Disgruntled Tea Party activists display ugly signs and listen to radical narrow-minded speakers who spew hate and disgust for our government and its leaders. Is it no wonder, then, that our nation didn’t make the top ten? I think not.”
    …But of course when it was the left doing it just 2 years ago, it made the country great eh?
    As for education, America has been dumbing down the curriculum for years and it’s caught up with us. Self-esteem schemes designed to make kids “feel better” bring home better looking report cards but, at the expense of actual learning. It’s a great system for the kids until they actually have to compete in the job market…but, hell…they sure did feel good during those golden school years!

    As for the tea parties (as if they have anything at all to do with the country’s rating from News-weak)…other than taxes, their main complaint is ACCOUNTABILITY from the government!
    Crazy isn’t it?
    And Laci, maybe accountability hasn’t existed. Is that any reason not to demand it? Could it be that since everyone in Washington knows that they’ll never be held accountable for anything is part of the reason we’re in the boat we’re in now?

  4. I read just yesterday a comment made in regards to “Starve The Beast”. The longtime goal of the GOP has always been smaller government, and left up to the right wingers… no government. So they are fixed in the fiction that tax cuts are self financing, or better known as “Trickle Down Economics 101”. The route to that is bankrupt the government thru the philosophy of government over spending and accumulation of debt. Were they not the dominant party during the time we have amassed this mega debt? and built into our national budgets annual deficits of what, a trillion dollars a year. Don’t you think that’s their plan??? They want to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. Mr “Boner” I don’t trust at all with his comment!!
    Shouldn’t taxes be raised and lowered to suit the needs and times??? I agree our tax system needs to be made more rational. And this pure Free Market Capitalism is ” Utopian ” nonsense!
    The “Beast” they are working so hard to starve is the oldest continuing democracy in the world.

  5. Naw, cut taxes in a time when no one (except the wealthy) have money to spare and the government is the furthest it can be in the hole.

    That seems to make loads of sense to sepp.

    Maybe private industry will take over from Government and turn the entire country into Detroit.

  6. Multiple factors figure into the end sum muddy. I would gage “best places to live” on how many people actually immigrate someplace. For being 11th place, America is still the choice location for most immigrants comming from around the world.

  7. midwestgirl,
    “no government” is the anarchists who are liberals.

    “The route to that is bankrupt the government thru the philosophy of government over spending and accumulation of debt.”
    That is Cloward and Piven…more liberals. Research them.

    “Shouldn’t taxes be raised and lowered to suit the needs and times???”
    So in a bad economy you raise taxes? How about spending? Should that be reeled in a bit? Or, do you think the government should just spend whatever it wants, whenever it wants and just pass the extra cost onto the populace?
    Try and run a business using that formula and let us know how bankrupcy feels after your customers all dry up.

    ” I agree our tax system needs to be made more rational.” Really? How? A flat tax? A national sales tax? Let’s do it. It would probably be low enough not to kill everyone, fair across the board and ends the paperwork game and harrassment division of the IRS.

  8. Noooo Laci, you’re right…increase taxes during the recession when everyone is scraping the bottom of the jug. Squeeeeeze that turnip a little tighter and we’ll tax ourselves right out of this mess!
    My god, I never would have figured out without your help that the reason the economy is bad is because we’re not being taxed enough!

    And here I was convinced all along that the government spending too much, the devaluation of the dollar, industries that can’t export anything and the cost of business constantly rising were parts of the problem.
    I had no idea that…if I just handed over more for the government to spend…there would be no recession!

  9. Sepp- [reply to Midwestgirl] “Shouldn’t taxes be raised and lowered to suit the needs and times???”
    So in a bad economy you raise taxes?

    So, who suggested THAT? Or are you defending the top 2% of the richest people in America, Sepp? Is that what you defend?

    And, by the way, it is not a ‘raise’ in taxes, but the expiration of a limited-time tax holiday. A time, by the way, set by the GOP and signed by GW Bush.

  10. Ok, so it’s an extended tax holiday…a holiday from higher taxes! The rich don’t need me to defend them. They got rich and most of them know how to stay rich.
    So, in your bloodlust to punish successful people due to class jealousy, who do you really think is going to pay for those extra taxes on the evil rich?
    Are you foolish enough to assume that they’ll just absorb the extra dent to their income or, will reality grab you by the ass and tell you that ANY additional cost to them will be passed down onto the middle and lower classes?
    Taxes, like anything else are seen as an expense to doing business. You don’t just take the hit, you pass it on…so that in the end, WE…you, me and the rest of us end up as the ones actually paying the tax increase that you think the rich are picking up.
    And,
    We’re also paying for any tax increase WE get but, without the means to offset it lower on down the totem pole.

  11. I would just like to make the point that taxes are all well and good, but unless they are used effectively, then they are useless. The Norse countries are effective in their use of the Tax dollars put into the system. They seem to have the perfect blend of Socialism and real free market capitalism. I think the reason they are so effective in utilization of their resources is because they are homogenous cultures that have a very low rate of corruption. The problem with America is that our systems of government and allocation of moneys and resources is just way over complicated and bureaucracy heavy. The Norsemen can make it work because they have basically what amounts to a local economy much like a US state. In that respect I agree with the tea party. The tax dollars are no being utilized efficiently and it’s mostly wasted and lost down a black hole. But ironically, the only was to fix that is to create simpler systems that standardize tax allocation nationwide – meaning a more powerful fed; more powerful in such things as Education, Pollution controls, etc… That’s the big hang up – in that people can see their tax dollars getting thrown down a black hole and want something done about it. But their solution is to just not pay, or reduce paying the tax = reduce the Feds power – when the opposite is needed to reduce waste and corruption. Sepp gives the example of Detroit. If more of the systemic loopholes, pitfalls, and inefficient systems that allow corruption were eliminated by standardizing nationwide much of the tax allocation rules / laws. It would help a lot in preventing Detroits.. Obviously you don’t want the Fed deciding whose tree gets trimmed, or which pot hole gets filled. But it would be nice to have a standardized teacher pay scale based on merit, or some kind of algorithm that figures out for x amount of students – you get x amount of administrators – who are treated as Federal Employees on the G-1 thru G whatever pay scale. That’s the big problem with TPS as I see it – you have this over bloated administrative culture – people making in the 100,000 dollars a year, who really have no bearing on the quality of education the kids are receiving. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Think of it this way – the reason why we have the greatest highway system in the world is because the systems that govern the highways are federal, central, standardized, and resources are allocated in the most efficient manner. To get money to pay for a bridge repair on I-75… you don’t have to jump through 10 hoops with money streaming through 10 various bureaucracy – where corruption, or inefficiency can hijack the process a long the way.

  12. Steve, you hit the nail on the head with “taxes are all well and good, but unless they are used effectively, then they are useless.”

    And what seems to happen is that the government squanders far too much of the tax revenue and then goes in the hole for the rest…and then demands more money to piss away to cover it.

    TPS is a shining example of money flushed down the toilet. What is the cost now? 7 grand per child in the classroom…and the end result is a kid who is completely unprepared for the next grade level or, an entry level job after graduation?

    I fully believe that the main reason Toledo has lost it’s edge in industry is due to TPS.
    The TPS system used to have 2 trade schools, Devilbiss and Macomber. Those schools churned out entry level skilled tradesmen which fed the needs of Champion spark plug, Jeep, Chrysler, Libby Owens Ford, Owens -Illinois, Owens corning, GM, Doehler-jarvis, AP parts, Toledo scale, Libbey glass, Edison, Columbia gas, The Toledo shipyards and every job type in between.
    All the people I know who attended Macomber. walked off the stage at graduation and had a good paying job within a year in the trade they studied.
    Many of the European countries have trade schools like those as a matter of course. A good friend of mine in Germany took the welding and metal fabrication route. At age 19, the kid is almost a master craftsman who can create damned near anything. Kids here are lucky if they can create a burger that almost resembles the one on the picture!

    The Germans (and some other Euro-countries) aren’t spending more on education…they’re demanding more from it. Not just from the teachers but, the students.
    Try getting results from a TPS teacher who is controlled by the TFT. You’ll get the same lecture I did when I asked for help verifying my daughter’s homework.
    “It’s not my job” was the answer.
    Oddly enough, I posted my youngest son’s spelling test on my blog. Instead of learning to spell words, it seems that kids in Ohio are just being taught to recognize them instead of actually memorizing how they’re spelled.
    Luckily for my son, we have always pre-tested him at home to make sure he can spell them all.
    I just wonder about the kids who don’t learn them that way and, where they’ll be in 10 years.

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