Letters to the Editor

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HEALTH CARE: Norway’s system has a high price

Letter by Carl J. Olsen, Puyallup on April 4, 2012 at 11:32 am with 18 Comments »
April 4, 2012 1:46 pm

Re: “‘System’ pales in comparison” (letter, 4-4).

I too have lived in Norway. However, the laudable health care system in Norway comes at a price: taxes, and lots of them.

According to Wikipedia.com, in 2009 the total tax revenue was 41 percent of Norway’s GDP. The tax level in Norway has fluctuated between 40 and 45 percent of GDP since the 1970s. Individuals are taxed up to 47.8 percent, payrolls are taxed up to 14.1percent and the value-added tax is at 25 percent for most purchases.

As a large welfare state, most tax revenue in Norway is spent on public services like health care, education and transportation. National defense is way down the list because the good old USA acts as the world’s peacekeeper.

I don’t really believe most Americans want to fork over more than half their income in taxes, even if it means getting a health care as laudable as that in Norway.

Leave a comment Comments → 18
  1. menopaws says:

    Guess again. Health care, good education and social programs that care for the sick and elderly…….Or, a deficit that spirals out of control while the Defense Department cannot be slimmed down due to National security……..I could live in peace and have good health care and educate my children well, and have a decent transportation system. Please let me know what the downside is??? Higher taxes….So, what? We are giving it to the oil companies and health care industry now……..Some peace and quiet and the opportunity to live in comfort doesn’t sound all that radical to me.

  2. Ooops! Those darn facts……

    Per capita health care spending: US – $7538, Norway – $5003. US spends 50.7% more per person than Norway does.

    Norway, Australia and Iceland have the best standards of living in the world – The US ranks at #13.

  3. the good old USA acts as the world’s peacekeeper.

    I’m not sure our history of supporting coups and pre-emptive invasions necessarily means that we qualify as “peacekeepers” with much of our military activity.

    But, you do make it clear, you believe that Americans should settle for very expensive healthcare with poor results because we have a big military to pay for.

  4. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Norway, Australia and Iceland have the best standards of living in the world…

    As ranked by whom? The UN?

    And I’ll take an average of $2500 per year more in health care costs over the ridiculously higher tax rates Mr. Olsen cites.

  5. Hey Vox, ever been to Norway, Australia, or Iceland? I don’t think so, if you had you would know they do have a better standard of living. Better health care, infrastructure, education, and etc…

  6. vickistired says:

    I’ve been to Norway. I almost wanted to cry when I had to leave – to say that the standard of living is higher there is the understatement of the century. Their attitude towards education, childcare, the importance of family….it’s overwhelming. Men and women alike often leave their jobs early in the afternoon to go pick up their kids….and spend time with them. The parks are full by 4pm with families just spending time together. People are friendly – probably because they are happy!! Politicians from different parties work together. It’s almost to crazy to believe – it’s like living on different planet, not just a different continent.

    Oh and the U.S. as peacekeeper? We’re one of the only developed nations that doesn’t contribute troops to UN peacekeeping missions. We’re the world’s warfighter, not peacekeeper. There’s a difference, IMHO.

  7. Facts and truth, the arch enemy of the right wing!

  8. averageJoseph says:

    I have noticed that far too many of beerBoy’s comments are directed at other commenters rather than the topic.

  9. aislander says:

    As expensive as health insurance is, it would make sense to buy cheaper high-deductible catastrophic coverage and bank the difference. A health savings account would let you do that with pre-tax money.

    That way, if you don’t spend the money in the account, it would be YOUR money and not the government’s or the insurance company’s.

    What a concept!

  10. aislander says:

    vickistired writes: “We’re one of the only developed nations that doesn’t contribute troops to UN peacekeeping missions.”

    I guess we don’t want our soldiers raping the locals along with all the other UN-commanded troops…

    That, and it’s against policy to put our troops under the command of non-constitutional entities…

  11. aislander says:

    But wasn’t Korea a UN “police action?” Seems we lost a couple of people there…

  12. aJ – You are a funny guy……

  13. “I have noticed that far too many of beerBoy’s comments are directed at other commenters rather than the topic.”

    Right wing hypocrisy, it’s too easy to find.

  14. averageJoseph says:

    Yes Vox, the U.N., that’s like someone claiming it’s a fact that Obama is a peace maker because he was given the peace prize. LOL.

  15. hansgruber says:

    I guess when you are too poor to pay taxes or on welfare or unemployment, being taxed up to 47.8 percent doesn’t seem so bad.

    In America 53% of the income tax payers are supporting 47% of the non-income tax payers…

    How’s that jobless recovery coming along?

    How’s that hopey changey thing going?

  16. hansgruber says:

    Hey beer, the US gives more aid to Israel’s enemies (Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia & Syria) then it does to Israel.

  17. So?

    1/3 of US Aid goes to Israel and Egypt (in the form, primarily, of armaments) (this may have changed after Egypt Spring revolution).

    After the Egyptian revolution it is unclear how their foreign policy will go but – until then – the Egyptian regime was clearly an American (and hence, Israeli) ally. Jordan and Saudi Arabia are likewise in the pro-west camp.

  18. Taxes don’t actually work like that.

    Your first 12 000 $ or so is tax free, then you pay a few % on the next few thousands, and so on. By the time you hit the top brackets no-one is having t hat as a wage, it is all tax free stock option etc. According to Statistcs Norway, the average tax after all the deductions is 25 %, so you take home 75 cents on the dollar. That does not include VAT, but that is normally inclded in the cost of living ratings instead. Statistics Norway notes than almost no-one pays more than 32 % in tax, income above those levels tend to be from non-taxable sources. The average tax rate of the very richest drop down towards 24 %.

    Overall, the total tax in Norway compares well with the total tax rates in a high-tax US state, like New York.

    As for military protection, Norway is in the top 30 military spenders of the world. Not per person, in total. It is easy to lose perspective when seen from the USA, but if the US evaporated tomorrow, the remaining NATO/EU countries would have almost 40 % of the military budget on the planet. Just the UK, france and Germanys total outstrips the total of Russia and China.

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