Since conservatives seem bent on making America into a theocratic authoritarian state like Iran or a right-wing authoritarian state like Chile under Augusto Pinochet, it is only fair that we consider a saner alternative model, The Secret to Finland’s Success With Schools, Moms, Kids—and Everything
Inarguably one of the world’s most generous — and successful — welfare states, the country has a lower infant mortality rate, better school scores, and a far lower poverty rate than the United States, and it’s the second-happiest country on earth (the U.S. doesn’t break the top 10). According to the OECD, Finns on average give an 8.8 score to their overall life satisfaction. Americans are at 7.5.
…”The thinking was, ‘for a country of 5 million, we don’t have many resources to waste. If people are happy, they’ll maximize their work ethic, and we can develop,’” says Andrew Nestingen, a professor who leads the Finnish studies program at the University of Washington. The theory of the welfare state was that “everyone should get a slice of the cake so that they have what they need to realize their life projects.”
The country’s unemployment and disability system was in place by 1940, and subsequent decades saw the expansion of child benefits and health insurance.
Meanwhile, thanks to the country’s strong agrarian tradition, the party that represents the rural part of Finland pushed through subsidies for stay-at-home (or stay-on-farm, in their case) mothers — thus the current smorgasbord of inexpensive child-care options.
Over time, Finland was able to create its “cake” — and give everyone a slice — in large part because its investments in human capital and education paid off. In a sense, welfare worked for Finland, and they’ve never looked back.
It is not that modeling our economy, education system and safety net on Finland will not work, it is that some people are opposed to solely on ideological grounds. Ideological in the same way that some religious adherents are very dogmatic about their beliefs. Facts, history, the best outcomes, humanitarianism – those considerations do not factor into conservative or libertarian thinking because they are contrary to their quasi religious beliefs about economics and culture.
Old Shepherd from Shakespeare’s Winter’s tale, act 3, sc. 3. created c1803. Besides the artistic merit this drawing is a fascinating precursor to the super hero customs of characters like Cat Woman and Spiderman. You can see the Old Shepherd’s muscle definition through his custom – in the full size version you can see he is wearing a top – the sleeve ends are visible on his wrists and his tights end at his calves. And of course, the cape.
As long as you’re a zygote, conservatives are obsessed with you. Once actual human being, it is a different story. And when they’re not making life as miserable as possible for humans, they’re busy making it miserable for animals, New Legislation Could Yield Net Loss for Animal Welfare
With not a single Democrat supporting the Farm Bill, and only 12 Republicans voting against it, the House narrowly passed its pared-down version, which excluded all Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funding (more commonly known as food stamps), by a vote of 216 to 208. The bill approved by the House includes the dangerous and overreaching King amendment, which could nullify dozens of state laws to protect animals, the environment, worker safety and food safety. Introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-IA), it seeks to erode the progress that states have made ensuring that farm animals are treated humanely.
Republican leaders blocked consideration of a series of other animal welfare amendments relating to banning barren battery cages, cracking down on horse slaughter, and upgrading the federal law against horse soring. (Horse soring is the intentional infliction of pain to a horse’s legs or hooves, which forces the horse into an artificial, exaggerated gait, a practice often associated with Tennessee walking horses.)
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) feels strongly that being cruel to animals is the new cool American value. In the past King has been a champion of legalized dog fighting, has said that some obscure German lab has proved climate change is not occurring and had an emotional breakdown when some kids wanted to speak to him, a public official, about immigration reform. King should probably be in a nice sanitarium under psychiatric care, but no, he is collecting about $175k a year as a Congressional representative from Iowa.