Sunday, September 4, 2011

Australia vs. Germany

I'm still stuck in the Thomas Sowell "Compared to What?" mode, so I thought I'd do a quick economic comparison between the US, Germany and Australia.
We've been arguing a lot over economics here at Western Hero and around Right Blogistan.  I want to present a few basic economic facts to help us keep it in perspective.  All information is from The Heritage Foundation 2011 Index of Economic Freedom.

It is useful to state statistics as a percentage of GDP, since GDP is the generally accepted (although imperfect) expression of a nation's total economic output.   It's the whole pie.

A Tale of Three Countries

Here are a few facts about America, Germany and Australia.  I include Australia because it ranks #3 on The Heritage Foundation's index and it is a model of small government.  I list Germany because liberals, with reason, like to cite that country as a successful example of enlightened progressive governance. 

United States of America
GDP:  $14.2 Trillion
Total Revenue:  26.9% of GDP
Total Government Expenditures:  38.9%

GDP:  $2.8 Trillion
Total Revenue:  40.6% of GDP
Total Government Expenditures:  43.7%

GDP:  $851.2 Billion
Total Revenue:  30.8% of GDP
Total Government Expenditures:  34.3%

One thing that immediately stands out is that all three countries spend more than they take in. Must be an international contagion.

Liberals want us to be more like Germany

I at least credit them with ignoring Communist North Korea and Castro's Socialist island paradise to pick a pretty good model.  In order to emulate Germany, we'd have to tax everything, making the price of everything go up.  Imagine a 19% sales tax.  Denmark, Sweden and Norway have a VAT of 25%!  We'd also have to strip states of their remaining rights, since the federal government only collects 18% of GDP, with the other 10% collected unevenly and unfairly among the states.  Get that done and you still have to figure out how to squeeze another 15 cents of every dollar out of the taxpayer.

Note the small difference in expenditure/GDP between Germany and the US.  We're almost on par, yet our social services stink in comparison to Germany's.  I think this points to horrible inefficiencies in how our government operates.  This also explains why Obama and his liberal fellow travelers are demanding draconian tax hikes to feed the voracious beast.

Conservatives should point to Australia

Australia is the gold standard of how a country should operate. It is ranked #3 in the world in The Heritage Foundation index.  Only Singapore and Hong Kong are higher (but who wants to live where you can get sick breathing the air or get your ass caned for chewing gum in public?).

Australia has a relatively small and efficient government, low corruption, and light but effectively enforced regulations on the economy and banking. It is an excellent business climate, and that translates into Joe Biden's favorite three-letter word:  J-O-B-S.

I would glady pay taxes for a government like Australia's that provides a great return on taxpayer money and doesn't stifle freedom in the process.

See also:  Western Hero - How to run a Country:  Australia


Magpie said...

Hi Silverfiddle,

As an Australian, and what you might or might not call a liberal, I’d point out that our current government is Labor Party and very much what you would regard as Left-wing.
Our entire political mainstream is to the Left of America’s.

Our banking sector – and our banks are making record profits - is in fact heavily regulated, which is one of the reasons we did not go into recession, by the technical definition, during the global financial crisis.
My hometown of Melbourne has just been named the most liveable city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Survey.

I doubt the Labor government will survive the next election, due to domestic issues I won't bore you with, and will be replaced by what we call ‘Liberals’ (economic liberals – I know from past conversation that you understand what I mean), who are - by our standards - conservative. Most US Tea-Partiers would probably regard them as pinko commies. The difference between our two major parties is tiny really.

We do have a deficit running at the moment. It’s projected to return to surplus within about 2 years.

Thanks for talking up my country. It has its problems, but they're not 'big' ones, and there is indeed a lot to like.

Silverfiddle said...


Thank you for stopping by! You are the one responsible for this post. If you remember, we were arguing at another blog, and you said some things that caused me to pause and do research.

I blogged about it here (and reused some of it for this post):

How to Run a Country: Australia

I think it is notable that Australia has enjoyed stability and economic success even as the different parties exchange control of government.

I think Australia illustrates that these criteria Heritage uses to evaluate economic freedom are neither left nor right. Left and right in this country have proven equally adept at squashing our liberties.

It says something about our internal US politics that Conservatives would point to Australia but liberals would point to Germany.

Magpie said...

Oh I hadn’t seen that earlier post.

A commenter makes reference there to gun laws, which are very strict here.
I could argue the case against unlicensed gun ownership till the cows come home and it wouldn’t make any impression on many people in the US. It’s a cultural thing.

Yes both Left and Right harbour strains of oppression. I just happen to feel that at this time in US and world affairs, the far Right are a much more immediate danger.

Ducky's here said...

The regulatory issue does put you in a bit of a bind, Silverfiddle.

Canada is another example. They did not cripple regulations and did not experience banking problems.

This chimera of freedom you chase may not be as valuable as you think.

Silverfiddle said...

There's no bind Ducky.

I am for reinstating the Glass-Steagall provisions that Clinton took out. It was clearly a mistake based upon any reasonable examination of the evidence.

We took away all barriers but maintained the taxpayer-funded safety net. Anyone with a fundamental understanding of human nature could see how that would turn out.

Ducky's here said...

Well, we agree on the need for regulation. That's a start.

The moral hazard argument has some heft but I don't quite buy it. We are in a position where the complete failure of the system (and I do believe it was close) would have been a far more disastrous outcome than any bail out.

The banks were in a position of power to do whatever they liked because there was nothing to stop them and we cannot function without a reasonably healthy banking system.
Not bailing them out wasn't a rational choice.

Z said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z said...

am sending this link to MK...can't wait to see Magpie and MK duke it out about their Australia!

MathewK said...

Thanks for pointing me to this post Z. I don't want to duke it out with anyone though, i'll give you Americans my take on life down under.

"Liberals want us to be more like Germany"

I thought it was more like France or Sweden, for liberals the more cravenly submissive country to the state and/or violent immigrants the better, no?

"Australia has a relatively small and efficient government...."

Sorry mate, we have large and nannying government, local, state and federal. Local councils are well known to be infested with green scum who like to make empty and gutless statements about the apartheid state of israel, that's when they're not fining your for daring to park your car a few minutes longer than your supposed to or branding you as some sort of pariah for not recycling you SOB.

State government, heavens above, don't get me started on those useless bastards. In the state of NSW the electorate finally had enough of leftist scum and voted them out, this was only when we found out one leftist politician was a pedophile, another was frequenting gay bars using his taxpayer funded car and such antics. They have left this state pretty much out of money, with old crappy roads, inefficient public transport and pathetically inadequate housing.

If you love cars and the freedom they give you, you'll find out very quickly that the nanny state doesn't like them or you very much, the push is more towards overcrowded, dirty and unsafe public transport, oh and bicycles, a greenies wet dream. One example of leftards idea of progress on traffic congestion was to take a free 3 lane road going towards sydney and changing it into a 1 lane road. The other two lanes are for buses and bicycles.

On health, we've spent billions upon billions with little or no change to health outcomes. So if you want to see what health will be like after president obongo is done fiddling, come out here and join the queue folks. Anyone who can afford it goes to private cover.

On education, let me just say the kids know all about multi-culti and the gay sex, oh and also that factories are horrible, whitey is a scumbag, plundering racist, Christianity is a nasty religion, and all hail the goddess gaia. i can't wait for my daughter to come home from school one day to tell me that it's because of bastards like me that planet earth is dying.

More in the next comment....

MathewK said...

As for the federal government, i've never seen a more incompetent and dangerous government in my life. They've failed on just about every single thing and the leftists won't resign and admit failure. The latest in their list of bungling is the malayasia refugee swap deal. I'll try to be brief, the leftards in govt. struck a deal with Malayasia, we'd give them 800 of our illegals in return for 4000 of their real refugees. Yes really, leftards thought that was a good deal, hard to believe but it gets dumber. Some refugee activists launched a high court challenge to this deal and that court blew it all sky high out of the water. Wait, it gets even dumber, according to the deal, even if we don't send the 800 from here, we still have to take the 4000 from Malayasia. So instead of only having 3200 at the finish line, we now have 4800.

"I would glady pay taxes for a government like Australia's that provides a great return on taxpayer money..."

Oh you will pay in taxes my friend, you'll pay like you wouldn't believe. Perhaps it's not as bad as up there in Europe, but pay you will at every turn. Immigrants from the 3rd world love coming to Australia because of all the welfare benefits, free health and housing they get. Guess who pays for it. If you don't like abortion, screw you, you'll pay for it anyway. You don't like funding health care for criminals, crack addicts and everyone else, screw you, you'll pay for it anyway. You'll gladly pay taxes and you'll never get a thank you for it, as for the 'great return', well good luck with that. I suppose if you're one of the parasite class, it's a really good return on other peoples money.

And if you're not paying more in taxes, you'll pay more in groceries, housing, electricity and just about everything else. Believe it or not, but you can actually buy an Aussie-made car cheaper in America than here. When i visited America a few years ago, i bought some household things from your Walmart cos it was cheaper there. Some family who came to visit here brought us a baby stroller from Walmart, probably $10 and we still have it and cannot believe how long it's lasted. I've bought stuff over the internet from America and it's about half the price with postage and insurance.

And the family i mentioned came out here for a visit earlier in the year and they also found that the cost of everyday things is much higher.

"....doesn't stifle freedom in the process."

LOL, i always have a good laugh when people say that, i often hear people say 'its a free country' and they say it so sincerely. Many people have found out that this 'freedom' they believe in evaporates very quickly if you say something not PC about homos, muslims, aboriginals or global warming. We have people in the press who literally cannot talk about certain subjects because of legal action. Some are dropped from programs and persecuted because they won't tow the pc line.

I remember reading an article about the middle east a long time ago, some fellow said sarcastically - yes, we also have freedom in muslim countries, we are also free to criticize Israel! That's the sort of 'freedom' you have here.

Lastly, if you like guns or entertain fantasies of the right to bear arms to defend yourself against common criminals and the ones in power, don't come here. As magpie said, we frown upon such 'crazy' notions. I recently heard someone on conservative radio say that anyone who carries a weapon is a coward. Many people here hold that view, i just hope such people wouldn't think that of a woman or a cripple as well. Well let me have at least that one dream alright.

MathewK said...

Another way i can say what i said above is like this - If you're from the 3rd world living under some sort of totalitarian state, Australia is obviously far better than that.

If you're an American conservative who believes in real freedom and liberty, you're better off in America.

Silverfiddle said...

MK: Interesting. Much of what you speak of is the liberal agenda. The Heritage Foundation restricts its criteria to measurable economic data.

I think the data was collected from 2009-2010

Anonymous said...

Astonishing report, MK. I had no idea things were every bit as bad Down Under as they are in Europe and in North America. I'm not at all sure from what you describe that the USA really is a better place to be than Australia.

I have always known Marxism was a man made disease spawned in the intellectual laboratories of ruthlessly determined INTERNATIONALISTS, whose ambition has been from the outset to "unify" the entire world under the yoke of One World Government, which would of course, be a form of Socialist Bureaucratic Tyranny administered by a highly privileged, all-powerful Oligarchy of Elites.

Who are these elites? No one knows for sure, and that is exactly the way they like it, but I am willing to bet they are a loosely knit cabal made up of International Bankers and Financiers, Owners and Suppliers of Raw Materials, CEO's of huge global corporations, and prominent political leaders worldwide whose apparent interests may seem to clash but who in truth are united behind the goal of gaining and maintaining absolute Power and Control.

Most people who think of themselves as rational want to believe this is an air-headed notion dreamt up by crackpot conspiracy theorists on the lunatic fringe, and yet the perpetrators have revealed themselves often, but their words have received little or no attention in the media.

These titans could never have advanced their evil agenda this far if it hadn’t been for the complicity of their lackeys and lickspittles in the press, whose sympathies are almost uniformly behind the Internationalist Movement.

Hear the words of David Rockefeller:

"We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries."

 ~ David Rockefeller Baden-Baden, Germany 1991

“Some.. believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others… to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will.

If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.

 "We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nation will accept the New World Order."

~ David Rockefeller speaking at a UN Business Conference, Sept. 14, 1994

If that doesn’t chill you, nothing would. There is a reason why world events have gone the way they have, and why your government, our government, and all those of the civilized world have almighty Nanny States where no individual an call his soul his own.

Your report from Australia, and the deficit spending reported by Silver Fiddle above prove the epidemic of Marxist Authoritarianism has infected the entire planet.

Cheerless to be sure, but it’s better to die knowing the truth than to live in a fool’s paradise -- or isn’t it?

Magpie seems happy as a pig in a pen full of poop, so why shouldn’t we feel that way too?

~ FreeThinke


Z said...

MK, I knew you'd have a lot of good stuff to share...thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it strange how Magpie and MK -- two intelligent, articulate people from the same country living under the same central government -- could have such radically different feelings about their mutual situation?

We have millions of examples of that here, of course. Shouldn't it make us wonder if "reality" isn't something much broader and quite different from anything most of us recognize?

Is it possible that both sides might be equally right -- and equally wrong?

This "Parallel Universe" thing is crazy making. What are we supposed to do -- sit on opposite sides of the street forever and throw garbage at each other as we point fingers, shout obscenities and accuse each other of being idiots or devils?

Not a happy prospect.

We seem to understand the problems pretty well, but have poor ideas as to what the possible solutions might be.

Displays of accusatory rhetoric accompanied by much whining might help let off steam, but we need to take a more creative approach. Thinking ill of those who think differently isn't going to help make the Ship of State seaworthy enough to move it off the rocks.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

SilverFiddle said:

"One thing that immediately stands out is that all three countries spend more than they take in. Must be an international contagion."

I believe that is exactly what it is, SilverFiddle. The words of David Rockefeller quoted above ALONE support that conclusion -- unless you belive that Mr. Rockefeller is nothing more than a garrulous, loose-lipped old crank who just wants to draw attention to himself.

Yes, it's definitely an international contagion.

These nearly uniform trends throughout the civilized world could not possibly be the result of mere accident or coincidence.

~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

FT: Re: your comments two post up...

I don't think both sides are right. I think it is perspective. One person sees the horse head on and says its beautiful. The other sees it from behind as it's taking a dump and says it ugly. Same beast, two different opinions.

I posted a comparison for a reason. To evaluate things we need objective criteria and benchmarks. In the absence of benchmarks, comparisons are the next best thing.

Australia has had these policies in place for a long time, through both conservative and liberal governments.

Much of MK's complaints had to do with things that were not measured in the Heritage study.

Magpie said...

“Magpie seems happy as a pig in a pen full of poop, so why shouldn’t we feel that way too?”

Actually I have my bad days.
It’s a terrible thing having my own house, a job, kids in school, sports, beautiful beaches, hot women everywhere…
Who'd have that?

All this prosperity is just vile.
I should go to Mogadishu and live there. I mean, really… why do I persist in living the most liveable city in the world? Why would I want my kids to have this? Maybe it’s because I’m soulless.

If only I felt afraid.
Y’know… afraid enough for me to want to sleep with a gun.
Then I’d be real man.

Excuse me, I'm off to buy some beer.

Silverfiddle said...

Actually I have my bad days.
It’s a terrible thing having my own house, a job, kids in school, sports, beautiful beaches, hot women everywhere…
Who'd have that?


Anonymous said...


Ducky's here said...

The Illuminati control my soul Freethinker.

Anonymous said...

"The Illuminati control my soul..."


It's obvious that you are acting as a cat's paw for some kind of Command Central. Your thoughts don't appear to originate within you. It's all Critical Theory at work -- techniques and tactics learnt at a typical training center for intellectual terrorism -- i.e. the modern university.

It's all stultifying, predictable cant and rhetoric taken straight out of the can.

~ FT

Anonymous said...

Why am I amazed to learn that you are a guy, Magpie?

What you describe doesn't sound like any sort of Socialist Worker's Paradise to me. No wonder you're content.

Doesn't Australia -- with the exception of the Aborigines -- have a more homogenous, less diverse population than the USA?

The tensions set up by too much "Diversity" and the concept of Multiculturalism have had a destructive, destabilizing effect in the USA -- and in Mother England and most of the Continent since they opened wide the gates to massive Muslim and non-white immigration.

Also, your population is much smaller than ours, and therefore, more harmonious and easier to govern, is it not?

However, I don't know much-if-anything about the ethnic makeup of Australia. I freely admit my perceptions could be flawed. Perhaps you'd be good enough to tell me something about it? I'm all ears.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the "horse" analogy, SilverFiddle. I get it.

~ FT

MathewK said...

Regarding diversity FT, it's not working out all that swell here either. Down there in Victoria some parts are very dangerous for white folk. Indians too. Also for the odd black fellow who doesn't belong to the right 'tribe'.

I remember hearing of a horrific stabbing in broad daylight of some black kid, his fellow brothers literally turned him into bloody swiss cheese.

Up in Sydney, you don't want to be caught in some of the muslim gang controlled parts. They're so brazen that they've been shooting up parts of Sydney for weeks now. And don't forget we have very strict gun control. A while ago, they were running around gang-raping white girls, that really stirred the nation up.

But like i said if you're from some 3rd world shithole or from nanny-state Eurabia, Australia is better, hence so many of them are moving out here. But if you're from America, i suggest you move to Texas or some state that's not controlled by crazed hippies. It's not better here.

Magpie said...

"Why am I amazed to learn that you are a guy, Magpie?"

I don’t know...
I’m 190cm tall, shaven headed, built like a truck and into mixed martial arts. Maybe that makes me girly looking.

"What you describe doesn't sound like any sort of Socialist Worker's Paradise to me."

It’s a capitalist country with a very competitive employment sector, high quality social services and universal health care.
i.e. “communism” by the American far Right definition.

"Doesn't Australia - with the exception of the Aborigines - have a more homogenous, less diverse population than the USA?"

It does not.
Australia is very diverse multicultural society.
At one point – actually at the time of 9/11 - my next door neighbours were Afghan Muslims on one side and Bosnian Muslims on the other side. Vietnamese behind me. Chinese and French across the road.
The only social problem I ever had in all that… was when a drunk Australian (white) decided to beat up his girlfriend (white) on my front lawn at 3 in the morning.
Never ceases to amaze me how some perfectly attractive women choose complete losers for boyfriends... but I digress...

"Also, your population is much smaller than ours, and therefore, more harmonious and easier to govern, is it not?"

The population is small relative to total land area. Doesn’t make any difference in being easier to govern other than it makes it harder to service.

With reference to other. divergent views about Australia…. You can make up your own mind.
I have no agenda here.
You can believe it is some crime-ridden totalitarian hell-hole if you want to. More beer for me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Magpie.

I am pre-disposed to like Australia. One of my neighbors here is an Australian gal from Sidney. She married an American guy almost 40 years ago after having travelled the globe extensively. I like her a lot.

No. I wouldn't all you a "Communist" country at all -- maybe more socialistic than I'd like but not Communist.

I don't mind coming right out and saying that "Diversity" is a pain in the ass, and has a deleterious effect on white societies everywhere. What you have said bears that out.

Culture is probably more important than ethnicity, but I'm just not a fan of miscegenation -- except in special cases like that of Clarence Thomas and Virginia Lampe.

If that makes me a "racist," I don't mind being called one. There are many worse things than that, as long as you don't "Go Hitler."

As for your sex, I once knew a girl whose name was Margaret. We called her "Magpie" for some unknown reason. I think she'd have preferred "Maggie," but what do kids know? Anyway, that was in the back of my mind no doubt.

Sorry. No aspersion were meant to be cast.

Next time, please inform us about taxation as a percentage of gross income in your country. That would include tax on corporate profits, tax on capital gains, tax on savings, and whatever form of "social security" you have along with straight income tax. Do you have a VAT as well?

Thanks again,


~ FreeThinke