The idea that Democrats want to make America more like Europe is a favorite Republican attack line. The New York Times, David Brooks expresses amazement that so many millennials are supporting Bernie Sanders, an open admirer of the European model. Why would anyone in their right mind favor “sluggish” Europe over “vibrant” America?
If we focus on data rather than snappy sound bites, the
attraction of the European model is clear: European countries,
especially the high-income democracies of Northern Europe, make better
use of their wealth in supporting a good life for their citizens.
Here is a chart that gives the big picture. The horizontal axis shows GDP per capita. (GDP here is measured at purchasing power parity
(PPP) to remove distortions caused by over- or undervalued exchange
rates.) The vertical axis shows a measure of human wellbeing called the
Social Progress Index (SPI). Unlike some other broad indexes of human
welfare, the SPI does not explicitly include income, wealth, or GDP.
Instead, it regards them as “inputs” that support the production of
“outputs” like health, security, and personal freedoms. >>>Read more