The #1 read article today in the NYTs is about Norway. I have been to Norway several times, and I have been surprised what a nice country it is. People live well there, and the people are sturdy and independent-minded. And yes, they have a cradle-to-grave welfare state. There is little poverty and crime is low except for a Muslim rape epidemic (65% of rapes in Norway are committed by Muslims even though they are a small minority of the population).
The Norwegians, for all of their comfortable living, and many vacations days each year, still have a strong work ethic. In fact, throughout Scandinavia the work ethic is still strong. And while people in these countries claim not to be patriotic (because that sounds like nationalism which leads to war-mongering so they say); in fact they are quite patriotic. They are very proud of their countries, and they are proud of their welfare states and very civilized societies.
But it doesn’t mean that the social policies in these nations can be imported to the US and things will all work out the same. These are small nations with very homogeneous populations.
In fact, now that these countries are beginning to be more diverse due to many poor Muslims moving there, I expect these countries to start having similar problems to the US in regard to their welfare states. Muslims there have lower incomes and thus as a group will rely more on means-tested welfare, and many will become dependent on it. Muslims tend to live in the same sections of cities, and thus an underclass can easily form. In fact, already in Malmo, Sweden, even the police can’t drive there unless escorted because of the dangers. Riots occur too, like this one last December. (The Swedes must be nuts to let so many Muslims from the Third World move there.)
Low-income ethnic enclaves plus means-tested welfare brings social disasters. But large-scale problems due to this are still decades off in these Scandinavian countries. For now, these countries are amazing places in many different ways. For example, consider this from the NYTs article linked above about Norway:
And in the midst of the worst global downturn since the Depression, Norway’s economy grew last year by just under 3 percent. The government enjoys a budget surplus of 11 percent and its ledger is entirely free of debt.
By comparison, the United States is expected to chalk up a fiscal deficit this year equal to 12.9 percent of its gross domestic product and push its total debt to $11 trillion, or 65 percent of the size of its economy.
… The country’s [Norway] G.D.P. per person is $52,000, behind only Luxembourg among industrial democracies.