Viewpoint: On defending the undefendable - European Socialism

By Fred Schnaubelt

Sometimes it seems this newspaper uses Amy Roost’s Au Contraire column as a substitute for the comics section. Her parodies are so outlandish even she cannot possibly believe what she says. Being provocative is encouraged but her nonsense on stilts is questionable if intended to be taken seriously?

Her defense last week of European Socialism and calling for a dialogue is ludicrous. How many countries have to be ruined for her to get the point? How many comparisons of Cuba with Florida, Red China with Taiwan, North Korea with S. Korea, and the USSR with the U.S. or Europe with the U.S. does it take?

Yes Amy, we could have a dialogue about Sweden’s high rates of suicide, once twice as high as the U.S. until the Swedes started popping anti-depressants. We could discuss the U.S. ranking 41 of 45 industrialized nations in infant mortality and how other countries report data entirely differently than the U.S. e.g., their premature babies that die within 24 hours are considered “stillborn.” Forty percent of all infant deaths occur in the first 24 hours, babies which American doctors do everything possible to save and if unsuccessful are considered live births by the U.S.

We might even talk about how most of Europe has a higher unemployment rate than the U.S. — over 25 percent in Greece and Spain and youth unemployment (15-24) a staggering 55 percent. We could discuss the recent riots in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France and England and how capitalism in socialist countries pays for all the socialism until the governments “run out of other people’s money?” Or how in France 43,000 cars can be set afire, nearly 1,000 a week, mostly due to youthful exuberance as a way to say, “Look at me!” Yes, these countries have a lot to teach us.

Norway, according to the CIA Fact Book, is the world’s second-largest gas exporter and seventh-largest oil exporter that pays for much of its social welfare. Norway has a population smaller than the MSA’s of New York, L.A. or Chicago which goes to show what offshore drilling can do for a small country. France, Denmark and Sweden have the world’s highest capital gains tax supposedly, but Sweden allows a 50 percent deduction from profits to reinvest in future investments bringing its tax rate considerably below the U.S.

Life expectancy is worth talking about in conjunction with health care. If life expectancy in the U.S. is calculated based only on health issues and not on homicides (mostly illegal drug related) and traffic accidents, the U.S. drops from 15th to first place in life expectancy.

Agreed, health care is a bargain in Socialist countries. My wife lived in the Soviet Union for 36 years and hospitals were free and medicine also if you did not require more than sterile water. For most other medicines and treatments, you had to pay Na Leva (meaning on the left — under the table). In the World Index of Charitable Giving the U.S. ranks number one.

Yes, I guess after all, I do agree with Amy, we can learn a lot from Socialist countries.

Schnaubelt, a Rancho Bernardo resident, is a real estate broker and former member of the San Diego City Council.

   
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