My Presidential Platform: Sweden and Social Services
The Swedes are a tall, blond people made tough by the cold, but I don’t think we should think of ourselves as being any less than they. Just because we are not all as tall and blond as the people of Sweden does not mean we, too, cannot have really good social services.
It is not just Sweden, but all of Scandinavia and much of northern, central, and western Europe that have an enviably high standard of living. Some examples:
A Dutch friend of mine once said that she sometimes wished she were mentally disabled, because in Holland, mentally disabled people live in “pretty gingerbread houses in the forest.”
While traveling through Germany, I remarked that the condos I saw there were so much nicer than the ones going up at the height of the mid-aughties real-estate bubble back in New York.
“Those are not condos,” said a German. “That is the housing for the poor, and the insane.”
Birth, death and everything in between is just better in these countries. Most other industrialized nations have lower Cesarean and infant mortality rates and higher homebirth rates, longer maternity and paternity leaves, and better childcare options than we do.
In Sweden, Canada, and possibly other countries, massage therapy is covered by the national health insurance, and is far cheaper than the very expensive and yet often ineffective MRIs and surgery often prescribed here for the slightest back pain.
When I studied abroad in England, my flatmates complained that the living stipend the government had given them was barely enough to buy ramen. The living stipend?!? the government?!? had given them?!? With which they could buy anything whatsoever–even ramen? As opposed to living on ramen after they graduated until the age of 40 while paying back the money the government and private lenders had loaned them with interest?
These are just some of the social services we are going to look into providing here in America, as an alternative to saddling our citizens with tremendous debt every time they want to further their education, heal their bodies, or have a kid.
Social services: they’re not just for tall, blond people in countries with bad food and worse weather.
Next plank: Security Detail