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More Dropping Like A Stone

“We’re number………….oh, forget it”,yeah, American exceptionalism has taken a beating. Gone are the days of us kicking ass and taking names (even if they were hyphenated names), gone are the days of swagger ,of clout, and wielding power from a position of strength. The new “Forward” would give Orwell a chuckle. Obama got his wish, we are just like everybody else;

Scandinavian countries top the list of world’s most prosperous nations… but U.S. drops out of top ten for the first time.
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Norway has been crowned the most prosperous country in the world for the fifth year running.
But the U.S. has dropped out of the Legatum Prosperity Index’s top ten for the first time to 12th position.
According to the annual survey, which benchmarks 142 countries worldwide, the UK has continued to lag, retaining its place 13th in the list.

In going over the benchmarks of this index (I had never heard of it before) it seems that all the bases are covered;

economy, education, entrepreneurship & opportunity, governance, health, personal freedom, safety & security and social capital.

A general “happiness” quotient can be inferred by providing folks those essentials that promote happiness, which is pretty much universal.

My initial reaction was that the top 3 are generally considered nanny staters (high taxation/cradle to grave entitlements) and this might not play out so well, here, but the next 2 are not, and really if the folks are content with how things are run, isn’t that what freedom and liberty is all about?

Most times I feel like AMD in an Intel world, a dissatisfaction with our (my country’s) state of affairs, I know we can do better. Other nations have done better, have provided a blue print for success and prosperity and it is annoying as hell to see us falling behind, to see others excelling where we are failing. Patton was right, Americans expect to win and have disgust for losers, the very thought of defeat (or even mediocrity) is hateful. No, I’m not saying when Romney wins (Yes, Kimpost, this is wishful thinking, DUH!!) things will change over night. But Dean Wormer was right, an intervention is needed.

18 comments

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  1. TheContrarian says:

    I can only be interested in this sort of ranking if I have a good understanding of the methodology involved. I may read up and comment later.

    We are slowly passing the stage at which elections can fix the problems with this country in the ways that freedom-lovers want. There will come a point where “intervention” in the form of some kind of civil uprising or revolution will be necessary. There is no inevitability either way, but the tide is against us due to the current culture. If people are content with the welfare state, the best we can do is to try to convince them otherwise.

    I wrote a long essay explaining why I hope Romney wins and how it relates to the wider issue of society. I think it could make a good guest post here. I messaged Hal and JimK about it but got no response. Here’s a link for the curious:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/q29qphnw67hj889/BaAO.docx

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  2. balthazar says:

    Great essay Contrarian.

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  3. Thrill says:

    I would be happy to post it later, if you like.

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  4. TheContrarian says:

    I would be happy to post it later, if you like.

    That would be delightful.

    And thanks, Balthazar.

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  5. Poosh says:

    IRELAND?

    …sounds a bit sus.

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  6. Thrill says:

    Sometimes I think the US is punished for keeping more honest statistics than some countries.

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  7. Poosh says:

    two points…

    Socialistic states *do* work quite “well”… for smaller populations, and only over a span of decades. As Thatcher says, sooner or later you run out of other people’s money – but while the party’s going it’s just super.

    And two, if the government is taking money from the better-off minority and spending it on you then what’s not to be unhappy about? In fact, if you’re use to that, less welfare is the sure-fire way to make you less happy.

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  8. Seattle Outcast says:

    When I first saw the “Lean Forward, We’re Not Done Yet” I thought it had to be a joke.

    I mean all you have to do is put the word “bitch” in there, and then a third line that involves a reference to lube, and you’ve descibed the DNC platform for America for the last century….

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  9. richtaylor365 says:

    Poosh, although I agree with both your points, I’m not sure why you would categorize those nations high on the list as socialistic. In an earlier post I wrote about Heritage’s rankings on economic freedom, the very opposite of socialism ( the freedom to own property, to invest, trade, work and accumulate wealth all to the personal satisfaction of the individual), those nations high on the Legatum Prosperity list are also tops wrt economic freedom.

    Although Scandinavian countries would be considered nanny staters, but higher taxation in and of itself does not make it a socialist country considering that they still can accumulate wealth and keep their stuff to themselves, and when you factor in the next two on the list, they are not at all nanny staters.

    Personal freedom is an important benchmark on the list, this would also include the freedom to be left unmolested (to a degree) from government, and socialist nations by definition subordinate personal freedom to that of the state and the welfare of the collective.

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  10. Kimpost says:

    Thatcher weren’t always right and certainly wasn’t with that qoute.

    A high tax society needs to balance its budget, just as a low tax society does. No magic is required. A high tax society which keeps expanding the welfare state, will have to raise taxes accordingly. Chances are that if they raise them too much, revenue will eventually start going down. Due to lower productivity, due to people starting to avoid paying taxes etc.

    If/when that happens the government needs to adjust the budget accordingly, by downsizing. There’s no natural law that demands racking up huge deficits year after year. Not for nanny staters, not for neo conservatives. Waging war is expensive though, so are bailouts.

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  11. ilovecress says:

    That website is fascinating – well worth exploring, and a good source of data to back up your arguments.

    or destroy them….(US ranked 2nd in health, compared to Canada 15th)

    I blame the media personally.

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  12. Thrill says:

    That would be delightful.

    Done.

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  13. TheContrarian says:

    I take issue with the notion that high taxation and “personal freedom” are mutually exclusive.

    Money represents time. If the government taxes 50% of your income, then it implies that you are laboring six months of every year solely for its benefit. Even if the politicians in power manage that money well in the form of strong public health and education systems, on principle I cannot support such a social structure.

    Property rights are the foundation of numerous other rights. Income represents property. If the government claims ownership of a large percentage of your property but leaves you “free” to spend your time as you wish, how free are you really?

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  14. Mississippi Yankee says:

    A high tax society which keeps expanding the welfare state, will have to raise taxes accordingly. Chances are that if they raise them too much, revenue will eventually start going down. Due to lower productivity, due to people starting to avoid paying taxes etc. (going Galt)

    If/when that happens the government needs to adjust the budget accordingly, by downsizing As Greece?). There’s no natural law that demands racking up huge deficits year after year.

    Kim, I think you see this whole issue on paper and have worked out the kinks on that same paper. Much like the entire concept of a EU it looks damn good when it’s sitting right in front of you at your desk. Now if only ‘damn people’ will get with The Program.
    The MSM and many , if not most, education systems world wide are trying to remove that whole unfortunate “human nature” flaw out of us

    I mentioned John Galt because it is my understanding that American business are perhaps doing something very similar right now.

    And the Greek reference denote my personal belief that it is virtually impossible for an elected official to take candy away from a baby

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  15. Kimpost says:

    I don’t think that anything looks damn good, on paper or IRL. It’s just that our mixed economy societies probably is the best we can do. Certainly seems to beat text book definitions of both capitalism and socialism. At least in my book.

    The balance between welfare/security and personal freedom is for each society to decide. And if we can’t use our respective democracies to properly manage them, finances included, then we are fucked. Or rather, those societies are.

    We an use Greece as an example if you like. What do you imagine will happen to them? Regardless of potential riots, the country will either just get its finances in order, or it will go bust, and then get its finances in order…

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  16. CM says:

    It would have helped if the Greeks had bothered to collect the tax money for all those years. Not much point charging tax if you don’t bother collecting it.

    Norway has the benefit of all that oil, that’s the primary reason they’re at No. 1.
    But I think a quality public healthcare and quality public education system are hallmarks of the Top 10. As well as the potential for the greatest number of people get rich (social mobility).

    If the government taxes 50% of your income, then it implies that you are laboring six months of every year solely for its benefit.

    That’s only if:
    (a) you don’t use anything that the government pays for, even partly.
    (b) you see government as a separate entity from society, concerned only with itself (I certainly don’t)

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  17. Thrill says:

    That’s only if:
    (a) you don’t use anything that the government pays for, even partly.
    (b) you see government as a separate entity from society, concerned only with itself (I certainly don’t)

    That is really what it comes down to. You’re so close to understanding what separates American conservatives and liberals with that comment.

    It seems like Americans hate socialism in name and taxes only. All the goodies without having to pay for it.

    And I’m afraid that the reason anti-government discontent is so high in the US is that we do justly see the government as more concerned for itself. Our elected officials vote themselves benefits and exemptions that the rest of us don’t get while the bureaucracy gets fatter and fatter pay and benefits in comparison to and at the expense of the private sector. The public interest has been abandoned.

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  18. CM says:

    And I’m afraid that the reason anti-government discontent is so high in the US is that we do justly see the government as more concerned for itself. Our elected officials vote themselves benefits and exemptions that the rest of us don’t get while the bureaucracy gets fatter and fatter pay and benefits in comparison to and at the expense of the private sector. The public interest has been abandoned.

    The more I read, the more I realise that government in the US seems to work quite differently to government here. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a certain amount of distrust, but I think it’s more of a healthy distrust. We don’t have so many examples that lead to so many people just giving up and assuming it’s all corrupt.

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