Paul Ryan and the Power of Misinformation

Freewheel Burning

Paul Ryan champions the poor. So much so, that he wants to cut services for them. If he could save a buck by cutting even school librarians for elementary kids, he would. Eliminating egregious tax subsidies on the rich, on oil companies and big agricultural firms, not so much.

Part of his justification lies in misinformation. Ryan said yesterday: “”When government’s own finances collapse, society’s most vulnerable are the first victims, as we are seeing right now in the troubled welfare states of Europe.”

What he gets wrong is that the most viable states in Europe actually have the heaviest systems of social welfare, namely the Scandinavian countries. Sweden and Denmark spend up to 40% of their GDP on social welfare (including education) compared to Spain, which spends less, only 25%. This figure is actually closer to that of the US, which spends an embarrassing 19% on social welfare INCLUDING…

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