July 17, 1989 |
It had been some time since I last saw my conservative friend Grump. So when he sat down at the bar, I raised my glass and offered him my congratulations. "Congratulations for what?" he said, with his customary scowl. Oh, you sly devil. You know very well what I'm referring to. "You'll have to refresh my memory. " Don't be modest. I'm talking about the stunning victory of the Reagan administration over that which you loathe more than anything - the welfare state.
January 16, 1987 |
I went to a drugstore here last Wednesday to get something for a cold. But I left right away because there were 15 people in line and I didn't have the time to wait. But maybe it was worth standing there for those Swedish citizens holding doctors' prescriptions. The most any of them could pay was $9 for a year's supply of whatever they needed. They would pay nothing if a doctor had certified their condition was "chronic and serious. " Such is life in the world's greatest democratic welfare state: lines and waiting lists, and benefits and taxes an American has trouble imagining, much less fully comprehending.
June 26, 1994 |
At night, 6-year-old Frederik Warnsberg wets the bed. In the morning, he cries to his parents, and pleads to stay home from school. When he gets home at day's end, he is exhausted. His father, Ulrik Warnsberg, blames the government. This, he says, is what happens when you start slashing the welfare state. The budget at Frederik's public child-care center has been cut, teachers have been laid off, and more children are being herded into fewer classes. When Frederik was 3, he shared a room with seven children, taught by three adults.
September 19, 1994 |
In a bid to save their cradle-to-grave benefits from further assault, Swedish voters yesterday ousted the conservative government that had spent the last three years trying to slash the welfare state. They voted to reinstate the socialists, who had built the system during the postwar era and sold it to the world as a model of governmental benevolence. The election paves the way for Social Democratic leader Ingvar Carlsson to return as prime minister - replacing Carl Bildt, the only right-winger to hold top office in decades, an eloquent ideologue who argued in vain that the welfare state was burdening a nation mired in red ink. Carlsson, the prime minister from 1986 to 1991, rode back into office on a wave of nostalgia, but last night he was careful not to promise any miracles.
September 18, 1994 |
It was not the kind of remark that would go down well in America. Mona Sahlin, a key figure in Sweden's largest political party, was telling voters here the other day, "If you are a Social Democrat, you think it is terrific to pay taxes. For me, taxes are the finest expression of what politics is all about. " Such candor can kill a career in America, but not here. In fact, the Social Democrats - postwar architects of the world's most bountiful welfare state - are poised for a return to power.
September 26, 2005 |
Here's my silver-lining hope this hurricane season: George W. Bush's compassionate conservatism gets wiped out like a taco hut in the path of a Category 5 storm. Outside of people inside the administration, I've never met anyone who really likes the President's "compassionate conservatism. " To the extent conservatives praise it at all, they celebrate the fact that compassionate conservatism got Bush elected. This is no small or insignificant feat, note the realists. Without victory, nothing else is possible.
December 5, 2003
WHEN AL GORE gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention rivaling any socialist in history, I condemned him. Little did the American people know that his opponent, the purported conservative Republican George W. Bush, was a silent big spender who would return us to the days of massive deficits. With the passing of the $400 billion Medicare prescription entitlement package, a new era of the welfare state has been set in place. Al Gore, whose misguided policies would have been a disaster, at least had the decency to let us know upfront what we could expect in his presidency.
June 17, 2008
MY PARTNER and I have supported the Democratic National Committee through our votes and with our money since we were able to vote. However, that support ends with this presidential campaign. We can no longer justify relying on the DNC as the truest measure of who we accept as our representatives, governing our communities and controlling our resources. Why? Well, first, for years, we have tolerated an outright bullying racist bigot as our local city councilwoman (a Democrat)
August 21, 1991 |
A lot of us, looking at the shortcomings of U.S. social policy, have wondered why America can't be more like Scandinavia. We worry over what to do with aging and ailing family members, as though we are the first generation to face the problem. The Scandinavians have worked it out with a system of retirement homes. We fret about the results of enforced idleness in our prisons. Scandinavian prisoners can work for pay in prison industries, earning enough to help support their families and to smooth their return to society.