Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Welfare State and Europe's debt Crisis

The European "debt crisis", which began as a banking and currency crisis and is now becoming all three, is said to prove that the welfare state is unaffordable. Greece, of all places, is cited as proof of concept. The problem is that Greece never had an extensive welfare state. Government spending as percentage of GDP was slightly higher than Canada's was in 2006 and their 2006 rate is lower than what ours is now. Furthermore, as Greece is and always has been an economic minnow, in terms of per capita government spending Greece does not even register. Claims that Greeks are southern European Swedes is as false as Kevin O'leary Don Cherry quality rants about Greece being a bunch of lazy lay abouts that are being bailed out by hard working Germans. Prior to crisis your average Greek worker worked nearly 700 hours more per year than the average German worker.

Meanwhile, the right never seems to want to address just how well Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark are doing when it comes to debt. In terms of per capita spending and or in terms of government spending per GDP all 4 can be considered welfare states on steroids. Yet, Denmark has a net debt as a percentage of GDP of 1, Sweden -15 (Yes its assets are greater than its liabilities), Finland -57, and Norway -156. Canada has net debt to GDP ratio of 32.

1 comment:

kitt said...

Good one. Thanks for posting the facts.