Norway to Trump: Keep Your Gold-Plated Sh*t Hole

Miles Mogulescu

So the Donald wishes more Norwegians would emigrate to America, instead of people from supposed “sh*thole” countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and Central America.

I happen to have spent two weeks visiting beautiful, democratic socialist Norway last summer. And I’ve got news for the Donald. Norwegians are not exactly lining up to escape their democratic socialist country for an increasingly neoliberal America.  Do you want to know how short the line is? Well, out of 763,060 green-card holders who became US citizens in 2016, exactly 93 were Norwegian.

And, by the way, Donald, not all Norwegians are the blond-haired, blue-eyed Caucasians whom you seem so hot for. 16.8 percent of Norway’s population are immigrants, many from countries you would call “sh*tholes” like Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, and Pakistan.

So if you did actually convince Norwegians to emigrate to America, more than a few would likely be brown-skinned people from Africa and the Middle East.

Be careful what you wish for, Donald.

Why Norwegians Like Democratic Socialism

It’s not surprising that so few Norwegians are clamoring to forsake their democratic socialist homeland for America. The World Happiness Report ranks Norway as the happiest country in the world (compared to the US at number 14.) It’s also number 1 in press freedom (the US is 43rd) and number 1 in prosperity (the US is 18th.)

What are some of the benefits enjoyed by Norwegians? Among them are:

–Universal health care.

–Free education from kindergarten through graduate school.

–Pensions that allow retirees to live a comfortable life style.

–A 37.5 hour work week, 5 weeks paid vacation, up to a year’s sick leave with full pay, 49 weeks of parental leave at full pay or 59 weeks at 80 percent pay.

Higher Taxes, Greater Security and Prosperity

It’s true that, in return for these benefits, Norwegians pay high taxes. The top marginal individual income tax rates are approximately 55 percent. Pay and corporate taxes range from 28 percent to 78 percent.

Trickle-down neoliberal and Republican propagandists claim that such high tax rates impoverish a country and lower the gross domestic product. But the opposite is true of Norway. Norway’s per capita gross domestic product is $70,911, compared to $57,538 for the U.S.

So high taxes and a strong social safety net actually lead to greater prosperity and greater happiness, at least as practiced in Norway.

It’s true that a much bigger portion of Norwegians’ paychecks go to the government than in America. But while most Americans have to stress about how to pay for health care, a good education, child care, and saving enough money for retirement, Norwegians are largely freed from these burdens.

Conservatives claim that high taxes and lots of government benefits result in less liberty. Norway shows the opposite.  If you earn a decent living, and don’t have to worry about the cost or health care, education, or retirement, you’re more free to pursue the rest of your life than if you don’t know if you’re one sickness away from bankruptcy or may have to live out your old age in poverty.

I wish more Norwegians would emigrate to America, not because Trump mistakenly thinks they’re all blond-haired and blue-eyed, but because they could teach us a thing or two about how to run a decent society.

Trump may have a private gold-plated toilet in his bedroom at Trump Tower to do his business in (and maybe dash off a racist Tweet or two while he’s sitting). I guess we can call it Donald’s sh*thole. But most Norwegians would be unimpressed with gold-plated toilets. They vastly prefer their free education, free health care, and generous pensions to live out their old age. Thanks but no thanks, Donald.

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