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Are Americans Exceptional In Their Attitudes Toward Government's Role In Reducing Inequality?


I think the government (us, in theory) should be responsible in redistributing the income. The problem is that the narrative has been hijacked. The government is already redistributing the wealth in a big, big way. They are taking the tax money and made-up money (creating deficit) and giving it to banks, corporations, and military contractors. This idea that to get a little bit more to the people in need is class warfare is ludicrous. There is already class warfare, with the government fighting and winning for the wealthy.

I'm a Finn. I was somewhat struck by the differences among the Nordic countries in the opinion poll, despite similar Gini coefficients, cultural backgrounds and current GDPs per capita. Finland was by far the poorest of these nations in the post-WW2 period. The construction of the Finnish welfare society was largely modelled on Sweden, which did not suffer dramatically in the war. I guess there is some of that spirit still left. The Finnish political culture is famously, or possibly infamously, consensus-seeking, having been formed by a series of historical necessities to pull together. To some extent the opinion poll results in all of the Nordic countries may reflect a recent or current right-wing political trend. The Swedish government was led by the Social Democratic party for a very long time until a center-right coalition came into power in 2006. The then-new conservative prime minister, still in office, Fredrik Reinfeldt has said some things in his youth about minimizing the role of the state that sound like they might have come from the mouth of Ron Paul. Reinfeldt has since matured and he leads a coalition where he needs to compromise, but nonetheless, his win in the elections was a major shift in Sweden. Finland has had a somewhat similar experience, but the rhetoric of the Finnish conservatives is generally mellower, and several of the governments since the mid-90s, including the current one, have been very broad-based "rainbow" coalitions (e.g. currently there is a social democratic minister of finance and a conservative prime minister in the same government).


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