Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Finland: Socialist Heaven on Earth

If you want to know a real success story of a Scandinavian Socialist State, read this article.
...with higher education so accessible, it lures thousands of people every year to go for a degree, even though they have no business in the world of academia. This produces a great number of bachelors, masters, and PhDs who don't have any value on the job market because they studied literature, art history, religious studies, or something like that. In many cases, they didn't choose their major because they actually thought it would give them a job; they chose it because it seemed fun or interesting, or it was easier to get into than law school or medical school.
Unemployment among educated people has become a chronic problem. The other side of the coin is that Finland has long had an acute shortage of people with trade skills: carpenters, plumbers, mechanics, and so on — people who can actually provide a valuable service. The shortage has, predictably, driven up prices and prolonged delivery. [...] 
[A] woman fell ill in the capital city, Helsinki. She was given emergency treatment, but as soon as the emergency was over she had to be transferred back to her own district, which was in Rovaniemi, over five hundred miles to the north. Bear in mind that just because you're out of the emergency room you're not necessarily all well and ready to be released. Because of the way the municipal healthcare system is set up, a sick individual had to be driven more than five hundred miles to a different hospital. [...]  
As you can well imagine, efficiency is not one of the Finnish healthcare system's main attributes. Studies have shown surpluses of doctors in some places with corresponding shortages in others. Very few of the municipalities can afford to maintain the healthcare services the law mandates. Health centers have been and are being closed all the time, but no administrator is ever laid off. The central government must transfer money to the districts to keep them afloat on a continual basis. In other words, Finland seems to have a central-state-run and -financed healthcare system, but in reality it has a municipal system, which has resulted in even more bureaucracy.
Any country that wants a universal healthcare system should not look to Finland for an example to follow. One of the real tragedies of this fiasco is the fact that Finland has some of the best private hospitals in the world, but because of our universal healthcare, very few Finnish citizens ever get to benefit from them.
And this part is for all you members of the “I love the idea of high taxes and free soup” crowd (emphasis mine):
As a rule, the tax authorities don't care about the law, in the rare event they even know it. Not only that, but it is clear from the way they act that they consider every penny to be their money, and may only be retained by the taxpayer at their discretion. It even happens that they make up arguments that are blatantly false and without any legal ground whatsoever in order to levy more taxes and impose various other sanctions. When the taxpayers challenge their outrageous claims, they simply ignore the challenges and press on as if nothing has happened — even though the constitution mandates that all decisions and rulings made by a government agency must be based on law and thoroughly explained.
This doesn't seem to apply to the tax authorities though, and neither do other legal principles. In all other matters, you are innocent until proven guilty, but if the taxman charges you with something, it is you who has to prove your innocence¹. If you fail, you're guilty, and it is the tax authorities who decide whether you fail.
This type of behavior is certainly familiar to the American public, as the IRS has subjected them to all kinds of violations. However, these violations, taking place no less regularly in Finland than in the United States, fly in the face of the aura of utopia that seems to surround the social-democratic welfare states of Northern Europe.
The statists may be very comfortable with high taxes, but even they tend to become squeamish when they hear of the havoc wrought upon private individuals and their families by the tax authorities. And it is of course the private individuals and small businessmen who suffer the most aggression, because they seldom have the knowledge or the resources to defend themselves. Billionaires and big corporations at least have a fighting chance; the little guys don't. So much for the compassionate society.
In a system such as this — with a very vague tax code; tax officials who are exempt from responsibility for their conduct; and onerous, never-compensated legal expenses arising from litigation against the tax authorities — the rights of the taxpayers are routinely violated. The officials have no interest in making the right decision, so whenever a case is not utterly and totally obvious, they rule in favor of the state.
Read on.

¹ Remember that this is the main outlook of socialist worldview?

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