During the Democrat Debate, Bernie Sanders, the consummate socialist, remarked that we should model our economy after European countries such as Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Of course, the only reason he mentioned these Scandinavian countries is because they're socialist, cradle-to-grave nanny states that have shown themselves able to provide a high standard of living. Other European socialist states like Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland are struggling to survive.
But, what Sanders doesn't seem understand, is that these countries have small populations; less than 10 million people with a wealth of huge stores of natural resources -- relative to their population -- which strongly helps to support their economy. More importantly, the Nordic race has a very strong work ethic. As a result, the unemployment rates and poverty levels are fairly low. A strong work ethic also means that there is very little corruption. Thus, there is little government interference in business activities in terms of regulations; making them one of the most freely capitalist economies in the world. Additionally, that same work ethic means that their population is better educated; and this too results in stronger businesses and the creation of new businesses.
Here's the simple fact. None of the above attributes of these Scandinavian countries are transferable to this country. Just as the failure of socialism to work in Greece. Our highly mixed population and our economic base are totally different. Also, understand how much those countries pay to achieve the level of socialism they have today. For example, in Sweden, the cost to pay for their programs is equal to more than half (51.9%) of that nation's total economic output; as measured by Gross Domestic Product. In this country, our government outlays are $3.5 trillion on an economy of $17.4 trillion; or, just 20% of our Gross Domestic Product. In order to achieve what Sweden has achieved, we would have to have massive increases in federal taxes. Even more, if we want the current $18+ trillion debt reduced or eliminated. Probably a third of all workers would work for the government.
Lastly, to pay for all this socialism, these countries tax everyone in the form of a Value Added Tax. A form of a 25% national sales tax (not applicable to food and some services that would impact tourism). That's because simply taxing the rich -- as Bernie Sanders would suggest -- won't even come close to paying for the large increase in socialism he is proposing.
Clinton, Sanders spar over capitalism, gun control at Democratic presidential debate: http://www.amny.com/news/clinton-sanders-spar-over-capitalism-gun-control-at-democratic-presidential-debate-1.10959244
Economy and Business Environment: http://www.heritage.org/index/country/sweden
Is Sweden a False Utopia: http://www.newgeography.com/content/001543-is-sweden-a-false-utopia
Does Scandinavian Socialism Work?: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/101480/does-scandinavian-socialism-work-steven-plaut