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Old 11-09-2019, 03:40 PM
Wesley Clark is offline
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What exactly do nations that have far higher taxes actually spend their tax money on


The US collects about 27% of GDP as tax revenue. This is lower than the OECD average of about 34%, and much lower than some nations that are as high as 40-46%.

https://www.economicshelp.org/wp-con...ercent-gdp.png

https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/site...?itok=ysJxzzyg

So my question is, what do they do with the money exactly?

I know one answer will be 'universal health care', but that isn't it. Because other nations spend half what we do on health care, and health care in America is twice as expensive, the US spends about the same % of GDP on public health care as other nations.

https://img.datawrapper.de/3bkwn/full.png

France and the US both spend about 8% of GDP on public health plans, but France collects 46% of GDP in taxes while the US collects 27%. So it isn't health care.

Its not military obviously, most other nations spend far less on military as we do. I think the average is closer to 1-2% for most western nations while the US is at about 3-4%. So if anything other western nations are saving money on military expenses that go to other programs instead.

People may say 'free college', but free public college doesn't cost much. I think in the US it would run at most $70 billion a year, which is 1/3 of 1% of GDP. So that isn't it.

So what exactly do they spend all the tax revenue on? Deficit spending may be lower, but before the Trump tax cuts the US federal deficit was at about 3% of GDP. I don't think thats out of line with other western nations.
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 11-09-2019 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 11-09-2019, 03:56 PM
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Safety net. It is much better in European countries.
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Old 11-09-2019, 04:09 PM
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Infrastructure.
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Old 11-09-2019, 04:45 PM
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In Quebec 47% of the provincial budget is spent on health care. There is also some federal expenditure but not that much. There is a lot on infrastructure both federal and provincial. I guess a lot is spent on social welfare. I get a pension from my employer. Then there is a provincial pension based loosely on what I paid into it over the years. In addition, there is a federal "old age security" which, in my case, is partly clawed back because my total income is too high. Then there is a federal "guaranteed income supplement" for low income pensioners, of which I am not one so I don't know how it works.

Education is another place where we spend money. I have lost track of it now but back 25 years ago, a year at McGill cost about $2000 for a Quebec resident, $3000 for any other Canadian and $13,000 for a foreign student. And $13,000 was what McGill received for each student enrolled. And didn't seem to pinch pennies. At that time, private American universities were typically charging $40,000. Why are they so expensive?
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Old 11-09-2019, 06:09 PM
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US politicians can be bribed for much less money than their European and Asian counterparts.
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Old 11-09-2019, 06:21 PM
Wesley Clark is offline
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Originally Posted by PastTense View Post
Safety net. It is much better in European countries.
Possibly, but 10-20% of GDP better? In what ways is it better? I assume there is more assistance for the unemployed, disabled, poor, etc.

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Originally Posted by MostlyClueless View Post
Infrastructure.
Total infrastructure spending in the US is about 440 billion a year by federal, state and local governments combined.

https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics...cture-spending

I wouldn't be surprised if infrastructure is better in Europe, but 440 billion is only about 2% of US GDP. So having amazing infrastructure would take at best an additional 1% of GDP.

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Originally Posted by Hari Seldon View Post
In Quebec 47% of the provincial budget is spent on health care. There is also some federal expenditure but not that much. There is a lot on infrastructure both federal and provincial. I guess a lot is spent on social welfare. I get a pension from my employer. Then there is a provincial pension based loosely on what I paid into it over the years. In addition, there is a federal "old age security" which, in my case, is partly clawed back because my total income is too high. Then there is a federal "guaranteed income supplement" for low income pensioners, of which I am not one so I don't know how it works.

Education is another place where we spend money. I have lost track of it now but back 25 years ago, a year at McGill cost about $2000 for a Quebec resident, $3000 for any other Canadian and $13,000 for a foreign student. And $13,000 was what McGill received for each student enrolled. And didn't seem to pinch pennies. At that time, private American universities were typically charging $40,000. Why are they so expensive?
Its not health care though, the US spends about the same % of GDP on health care for public plans as Canada does. About 8-9%.

And college isn't it either. Private university in the US is 40k a year, but public college is already very heavily subsidized. For the state university where I am, in state tuition is 10k a year, and its 35k a year for out of state. So public college already has a 25k a year subsidy from the state government. Making public college free would cost less than 0.3% of GDP.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
The US collects about 27% of GDP as tax revenue. This is lower than the OECD average of about 34%, and much lower than some nations that are as high as 40-46%.

https://www.economicshelp.org/wp-con...ercent-gdp.png

https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/site...?itok=ysJxzzyg

So my question is, what do they do with the money exactly?

I know one answer will be 'universal health care', but that isn't it. Because other nations spend half what we do on health care, and health care in America is twice as expensive, the US spends about the same % of GDP on public health care as other nations.

https://img.datawrapper.de/3bkwn/full.png

France and the US both spend about 8% of GDP on public health plans, but France collects 46% of GDP in taxes while the US collects 27%. So it isn't health care.
...
It is health care- and other things, like a much better safety net. You are comparing apples and oranges, comparing what a nation spends it tax money on vs what a nation spends it's GDP . GDP is spent by all of us. So the people and businesses of the uSA spend a lot of THEIR money on healthcare, but the Feds dont. What the feds do spend it on is medicaid and Medicare.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
Total infrastructure spending in the US is about 440 billion a year by federal, state and local governments combined.

https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics...cture-spending

I wouldn't be surprised if infrastructure is better in Europe, but 440 billion is only about 2% of US GDP. So having amazing infrastructure would take at best an additional 1% of GDP.
No, a large part of it really is infrastructure. A much larger portion of government spending in Europe goes to investments in power plants, transportation, communications and such. No single operator with maybe a couple million customers can possibly afford to build a nuclear power plant or a high-speed rail line or a nation-wide fiber-optic cable network without substantial investments from the government. There's also a much smaller tax base to collect from, so something that costs a negligible part of the United States federal tax revenue to build may well be 2-3% of Denmark's entire state budget.
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:34 PM
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Wesley: are you acquainted with the idea of tax expenditures?
Quote:
A 2016 Congressional Budget Office report estimated that U.S. tax expenditures were expected to total $1.5 trillion in 2016
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_expenditure

So suppose you want to give support for renewable energy. In the U.S. the approach is tax credits and deductions. In other countries it is direct public expenditure. Thus for the same impact the tax rate would be lower in the U.S.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
It is health care- and other things, like a much better safety net. You are comparing apples and oranges, comparing what a nation spends it tax money on vs what a nation spends it's GDP . GDP is spent by all of us. So the people and businesses of the uSA spend a lot of THEIR money on healthcare, but the Feds dont. What the feds do spend it on is medicaid and Medicare.
It isn't health care from what I can tell. In the US we spend about 8% of GDP on public health programs, which is in line with other western nations. So they aren't spending more money on UHC, they're all spending roughly ~8% of GDP on public health care irrelevant of whether their total tax burden is 25% or 45% of GDP.

Also my stats are for % of GDP spend on public health programs, which are funded via tax revenue.

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Originally Posted by Telperion View Post
No, a large part of it really is infrastructure. A much larger portion of government spending in Europe goes to investments in power plants, transportation, communications and such. No single operator with maybe a couple million customers can possibly afford to build a nuclear power plant or a high-speed rail line or a nation-wide fiber-optic cable network without substantial investments from the government. There's also a much smaller tax base to collect from, so something that costs a negligible part of the United States federal tax revenue to build may well be 2-3% of Denmark's entire state budget.
But Europe as a whole has a GDP roughly on par with the US. So yeah a small nation in Denmark may cost a lot but overall for the EU it should average out shouldn't it? I mean places like France, Germany, the UK, etc. all have large economies.

I don't know what the EU spends on infrastructure, but this article implies it 'should' be 688 billion euros a year.

http://www.iberglobal.com/files/2018...ructure_eu.pdf

Which implies it is less than ~700 billion in USD, and like I mentioned earlier the US spends about 440 billion in USD. So that is at most, an additional 200 billion a year. Which is 1% of GDP.

In the US I get the impression we spend about 30% of GDP as public funds (after you factor in deficit spending), they are spend on items like

5% social security
8% public health programs
3-4% military
2% infrastructure
4-5% public education (public K-12, in state college, etc)

etc. But those 5 programs probably make up the bulk of our public sector spending.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:47 PM
Wesley Clark is offline
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Originally Posted by PastTense View Post
Wesley: are you acquainted with the idea of tax expenditures?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_expenditure

So suppose you want to give support for renewable energy. In the U.S. the approach is tax credits and deductions. In other countries it is direct public expenditure. Thus for the same impact the tax rate would be lower in the U.S.
Thats possible. Tax credits for employer health insurance replace public spending on health care. Tax credits for pension savings replace public pension plans. Tax credits like the EITC and child tax credit replace public welfare programs.
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Old 11-10-2019, 02:37 AM
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It isn't health care from what I can tell. In the US we spend about 8% of GDP on public health programs, which is in line with other western nations. So they aren't spending more money on UHC, they're all spending roughly ~8% of GDP on public health care irrelevant of whether their total tax burden is 25% or 45% of GDP. ....
Again, they number you want when comparing what nations spend their TAXES on isnt GDP. It's... wait for it.... taxes.

The USA has a lower tax burden per citizen as calculated from GDP.
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Old 11-10-2019, 03:14 AM
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The US has a lower tax burden compared to GDP because it has a high GDP, and a high per-capita GDP (higher than all of the countries on your first list except Norway. So 27% of a high number is as much in actual money you can do stuff with as a bigger percentage of a lower number.

US GDP per capita is around $59,500. 27% of that is around $16k - that's what the government gets to spend per person. Meanwhile, Italy is taxing 42.4% of a GDP per capita of $32k - they get something under $14k per person. If you go through the list like that and calculate how much money each government has per person, the only countries significantly above the US are the northern high-social-welfare states - Norway, Sweden, Denmark and so on. US ends up on a par with Germany, leapfrogs over a lot of the rest of the list
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Old 11-10-2019, 03:18 AM
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I've never been clear on whether the calculation on tax paid in the US includes local taxes or not. But IIUIC that's one source of financing for public schools systems which in most other countries comes from taxes at higher levels.

Public transportation systems. I've helped foreigners learn their way around the intrincacies of Spanish subway and bus systems and one thing which surprises many of them is that little children go free. We see that as part of the "children are everybody's responsiblity" principle.

Infrastructure, from sewers to hospitals.

The one item on which we spend a lot less in % of taxes than the US is the military. But the other big bills are the same as for the US. The concepts are the same, what's different is how big a pie slice each of them gets.

Last edited by Nava; 11-10-2019 at 03:19 AM.
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Old 11-10-2019, 07:45 AM
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I've never been clear on whether the calculation on tax paid in the US includes local taxes or not.
Federal receipts/GDP are only like 17% so OP's numbers must include at least state taxes.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:12 AM
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Some European nations have large civil service workforces, and early retirement eligibility. Combined with longevity generally better than in the U.S., that can cost a bundle.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:52 AM
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You can probably get some answers from assorted OECD statistics:

https://data.oecd.org/gga/general-government-spending-by-destination.htm
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:42 AM
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One thing paid for by taxes in other countries but not the US is maternity/paternity/childcare/sick leave - when you hear about countries where people are entitle to say 26 weeks of leave at 50% pay, taxes are paying for some or all of that .
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Old 11-10-2019, 01:26 PM
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Again, they number you want when comparing what nations spend their TAXES on isnt GDP. It's... wait for it.... taxes.

The USA has a lower tax burden per citizen as calculated from GDP.
This argument still doesn't make sense to me.

The US spends about 30% of its GDP via the public sector (we collect about 27% of GDP in tax revenue and run deficits). Places like France spend about 46% of their GDP in public funds. Since tax revenue and spending have to more or less balance out (there is deficit spending), France is spending roughly 16% of their economy on public funds for 'something' that the US isn't.
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Old 11-10-2019, 02:44 PM
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This argument still doesn't make sense to me.

The US spends about 30% of its GDP via the public sector (we collect about 27% of GDP in tax revenue and run deficits). Places like France spend about 46% of their GDP in public funds. Since tax revenue and spending have to more or less balance out (there is deficit spending), France is spending roughly 16% of their economy on public funds for 'something' that the US isn't.

Which has nothing whatsoever to do with the OP.

The question is that Western European nations, etc have higher taxes that the uSA. What do they spend those higher taxes on?

We dont need another debate here about why the uSA doesnt have UHC.

But the OP is comparing apples and oranges. He is asking what they get for their higher taxes and then compares that to GNP.
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Old 11-10-2019, 03:18 PM
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Which has nothing whatsoever to do with the OP.

The question is that Western European nations, etc have higher taxes that the uSA. What do they spend those higher taxes on?

We dont need another debate here about why the uSA doesnt have UHC.

But the OP is comparing apples and oranges. He is asking what they get for their higher taxes and then compares that to GNP.
Yeah, thats the question, what do they spend the higher taxes on.

I never wanted to debate UHC. I said UHC wasn't the reason, because spending is about the same. We all spend about 8% of our economies on public sector health programs funded via taxation. France, US, Canada, Germany, UK, etc.

I still don't see how comparing taxes to GDP is wrong. An economy of 20 billion spends about 30% of their economy on pubic sector things, another nation wtih a 2.5 trillion GDP spends 46% of their economy on the public sector. Granted per capita income is not the same, but places like Australia, Denmark, Sweden, etc have a per capita income on par with the US.

Either way, I still am not sure what these other nations are getting for their higher taxes. It isn't UHC (they spend the same as we do). Free college is a drop in the bucket. They spend less on military. Their R&D spending is lower too (but I'm not sure how much is public/private) I don't 'think' its public sector infrastructure spending. I'm guessing social welfare is part of it, but do european nations spend 10% of their entire economy on public sector welfare on top of what the US spends (we also have a social safety net, just not as robust).
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Old 11-10-2019, 03:36 PM
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..
I never wanted to debate UHC. I said UHC wasn't the reason, because spending is about the same....

I still don't see how comparing taxes to GDP is wrong. ..

Either way, I still am not sure what these other nations are getting for their higher taxes. It isn't UHC (they spend the same as we do). ....
UHC is one of the reasons because they spend more of their TAXES on health care.

It isnt wrong but it doesnt help answer the question of what do they spend their TAXES on. Not their GDP on.
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Old 11-10-2019, 03:56 PM
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UHC is one of the reasons because they spend more of their TAXES on health care.

It isnt wrong but it doesnt help answer the question of what do they spend their TAXES on. Not their GDP on.
But they don't spend more of their taxes on health care.

https://img.datawrapper.de/3bkwn/full.png

In America we spend about 30% of our economy via the public sector, and about 8% of our economy is public sector health care programs.

In France they spend around 46% of their economy via the public sector, and about 8% of their economy is public sector health care programs.

For every $100 in economic activity in both the US and France, each nation collects about 8% as tax revenue and uses it to fund health care programs. So the fact that France collects and spends about 46% of their economy as taxes while the US is closer to 30% doesn't come down to the fact that France has UHC.

Also Brawndo has electrolytes. Its got what plants crave.
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Old 11-10-2019, 04:19 PM
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But they don't spend more of their taxes on health care.

https://img.datawrapper.de/3bkwn/full.png

In America we spend about 30% of our economy via the public sector, and about 8% of our economy is public sector health care programs.

In France they spend around 46% of their economy via the public sector, and about 8% of their economy is public sector health care programs.
...
Again, you cant seem to stop comparing GDPs, when you asked for and need to compare what they spend their TAXES on. You cant find a cite that compares taxes?

Compare taxes, not GDP. That is what your Op asked for.
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Old 11-10-2019, 04:30 PM
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Here, maybe this cite might help:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4513966/

or not.
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Old 11-10-2019, 05:18 PM
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Safety net. It is much better in European countries.
This.

In Canada, welfare is a provincial responsibility. The pay is terrible, but...

In Ontario, the most basic welfare program is Ontario Works. They pay about $700 CAD per month for a single adult who is not considered disabled by welfare standards. The only large restrictions are you must be very poor (there's an asset test and an income test) and there is no time limit. One CAD is worth about 75 cents US.

That's not enough to live off of, unless you have subsidized housing, or a roommate, or live with family. Some welfare recipients are homeless (you just need a mailing address).

Note the lack of restrictions. Single employable adults can get on welfare in Canada. Single parents (probably the largest group) can barely make it because of this plus the child tax benefit (see below).

In the US, most states have General Assistance, which often pays as little as $200 per month. Most states (even California) put restrictions on these, making it nearly impossible to get on if you are a single employable adult. The federal government also has non-cash programs such as food stamps, which makes any sort of apples to oranges program difficult. It's possible the typical American welfare recipient might be as well off as the typical Canadian recipient, but Canada will accept many people on welfare that the United States would not. That costs more tax revenue.


I did a quick check on the numbers for single people on SSI (US) and ODSP (Ontario, Canada) and they're about the same once you correct for the exchange rate.


Canada has a federal child tax benefit. In the US, there's a credit (some of it refundable) for families with children that could be considered an equivalent. A really long time ago the Canadian benefit worked the same way, but now it's a monthly payment. Families making more than about $170,000 or so will not get this benefit, which means families making a median level of income would get this benefit. Unlike welfare, this automatically increases with inflation.

This is the United States equivalent:

Quote:
The child tax credit provides a credit of up to $2,000 per child under age 17. If the credit exceeds taxes owed, families may receive up to $1,400 per child as a refund. Other dependents—including children ages 17–18 and full-time college students ages 19–24—can receive a nonrefundable credit of up to $500 each.
I used the Canadian government's benefit calculator to estimate the child tax payments for a family making a median income (I set this at $80,000 per year, the median is between $72,000 and $80,000), and assumed one child under six and one over six. The annual amount is $6,623.28 (roughly $5,000 USD), a little over $500 per month, or roughly $375 USD. A very poor family with one child would get a similar amount (at least $450 per month, and there might be some provincial funding as well, which comes out to at least $5,400 CAD or $4,000 USD per year).

The Canadian child tax system does not support adult children.

Quebec has its own child tax system (which overlaps the Canadian federal system) and they have an extra bonus:

Quote:
In 1988, the Quebec government introduced the Allowance for Newborn Children that paid up to $8,000 to a family after the birth of a child.

Quebec (which has an even higher tax burden than the rest of Canada) has a really cheap daycare plan.

Quote:
Child care fees in Ontario range from about $9,000 to over $20,000 per child per year for children 0-4 years.
Quote:
Quebec is unique in Canada that the provincial government sets a flat fee for children in most child care centres, family child care homes and child care in schools at $7.30/day up to $20/day. These spaces are referred to as “reduced contribution spaces”.
Assuming 260 business days that must be covered, that's an annual cost of $1,898 to $5,200 per year. Obviously that's subsidized, as no daycare could operate on such low levels of income. Taxes are paying for that.


Canada and practically every other wealthy country have paid maternity leave, with the US being one of the very few exceptions. However, this might be a case of apples and oranges. In Canada, maternity leave is a type of unemployment benefit, which the mother had to pay into beforehand. In addition, there is parental leave for after the baby is born, which either parent can take advantage of... but that's also paid out of unemployment insurance. I understand that, in general, the government brings in enough money (they update the rates every year, sometimes downward) but in some specific areas, such as self-employed maternity/parental leave, the program costs more than it pays out!


Canada has a pension system that is ... different from that of the States. I wouldn't call it better paying, just more forgiving. The American system (according to this link) pays an average of $1,400 per year: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money...ngth/39146723/

I tried to Google how much Social Security you could expect if you never worked but couldn't find an answer. I could swear I saw an answer of $4,000 to $5,000 before, but my memory isn't that great when it comes to numbers.

In Canada, almost every person who reaches 65 is entitled to Old Age Security which pays a bit under $7,000 per year. This is based on legal residency and how long you were here, so if you were born in Canada and didn't live far away for decades you will get the maximum. (If your income is high, part of that gets clawed back.) But... most Canadians collect the Canada Pension Plan upon retirement, which cost about 5% of your paycheque when working and pays about 25% of your average wages (subject to all kinds of minima, maxima, etc).

The average CPP benefit is fairly low:

Quote:
In fact, the average amount for new beneficiaries is just over $8,000 per year (as of March 2019)
https://boomerandecho.com/cpp-paymen...-pension-plan/

Even combined with OAS that's only about $15,000 per year, each.

I understand that Social Security takes more but also pays more, which is why I say the Canadian system isn't better paying. I wonder if Canada is unique in how little is collected and paid. (I took a look at the German system. Compared to Canada, they take more and they pay more.)

So what if you never worked? You can't live off $7,000 per year. But you can (barely) live off of $16,000 per year. The federal government pays the Guaranteed Income Supplement, which pays up to around $9,000 per year, going down at a rate of 50 cents for every $1 of income beyond Old Age Security (this includes the Canada Pension Plan). Unlike OAS and CPP, GIS is based on your family net income. A retired couple would get about 1.5 times that amount, not double that amount. Unlike welfare, OAS, CPP and GIS are guaranteed to increase with inflation or the consumer price index.

GIS is notably higher than welfare payments. Homemakers will still get something, even if their spouses left them with nothing. Welfare recipients will see their income go up compared to when they were employable. People who were disabled and couldn't work will get something, though OAS/GIS seem to pay not much more than provincial disability would. Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement come entirely from general tax revenues.

Breakdown of taxation, from February 2018:

https://i.cbc.ca/1.4549244.151941109...goes-16-17.png

Last edited by Kimera757; 11-10-2019 at 05:23 PM.
  #27  
Old 11-10-2019, 06:52 PM
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This.

In Canada, welfare is a provincial responsibility. ...
Good answer, and that's a big part of it.


Of course, UHC is part of the safety net.
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:51 PM
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But they don't spend more of their taxes on health care.

https://img.datawrapper.de/3bkwn/full.png

In America we spend about 30% of our economy via the public sector, and about 8% of our economy is public sector health care programs.

In France they spend around 46% of their economy via the public sector, and about 8% of their economy is public sector health care programs.

For every $100 in economic activity in both the US and France, each nation collects about 8% as tax revenue and uses it to fund health care programs. So the fact that France collects and spends about 46% of their economy as taxes while the US is closer to 30% doesn't come down to the fact that France has UHC.

Also Brawndo has electrolytes. Its got what plants crave.

Wesley, you keep saying this but it's not a real comparison. Overall, the US spends 17-18% of GDP on health care (and growing). Other nations with UHC may spend 8% - good for them - but you can't just throw out the part in the US that covers private spending. Let's look:

USA public: 8%
USA private: 9-10%

Other Nation: 8%

The second nation is covering with 8% what the US is covering with 18%. So that does count. It's much more efficient and covers more people in more ways. To just say the US spends 8% of public funds on healthcare is to commit and enormous exclusion from the data. This allows for more spending elsewhere.

Using France as an example - first one that popped to mind, I spend time there through family - let's look at Education.

US: roughly 70 billion
France: roughly 78 billion

So with a smaller population (310MM vs 67MM) France spends more and more per capita. And taxpayers get more out of it. If the French had our educational system they'd riot and shut down Paris for months until it was resolved.

There's also the matter of interest payments. France's tax abatement is (in 2019) about 138B while the US is $325B.

It's not a matter of spending, it's what they spend it on and how much other spending is included. We may pay less, but we also get less and have to tolerate having government shuffle off expenses onto the backs of private citizens.
  #29  
Old 11-10-2019, 10:06 PM
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Wesley, you keep saying this but it's not a real comparison. Overall, the US spends 17-18% of GDP on health care (and growing). Other nations with UHC may spend 8% - good for them - but you can't just throw out the part in the US that covers private spending. Let's look:

USA public: 8%
USA private: 9-10%

Other Nation: 8%

The second nation is covering with 8% what the US is covering with 18%. So that does count. It's much more efficient and covers more people in more ways. To just say the US spends 8% of public funds on healthcare is to commit and enormous exclusion from the data. This allows for more spending elsewhere.

Using France as an example - first one that popped to mind, I spend time there through family - let's look at Education.

US: roughly 70 billion
France: roughly 78 billion

So with a smaller population (310MM vs 67MM) France spends more and more per capita. And taxpayers get more out of it. If the French had our educational system they'd riot and shut down Paris for months until it was resolved.

There's also the matter of interest payments. France's tax abatement is (in 2019) about 138B while the US is $325B.

It's not a matter of spending, it's what they spend it on and how much other spending is included. We may pay less, but we also get less and have to tolerate having government shuffle off expenses onto the backs of private citizens.
I'm a strong supporter of UHC and would support medicare for all in the US. However health care isn't what other nations are spending all their extra tax revenue on since health care is cheaper in other nations.

I really don't see why people are making this argument. 8% of our economy is collected as tax revenue and used to fund public sector health plans. Same as France, UK, Italy, etc. Yes in teh US we also spend another 10% privately, but that doesn't explain what France does with its 46% tax rate vs the 27% tax rate in the US.

Also your education figures are way off. The US spent $706 billion in public funds on K-12 seduction in 2015.

https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=66

I don't know the figure for public college, but I'm assuming its around ~200 billion in public funds to fund public colleges and universities. So thats around ~900 billion in public funds to fund education in the US, about 4.5% of GDP.

I mentioned earlier, the following are rough estimates for public sector spending in various areas as a % of the economy.

5% social security
8% public health programs
3-4% military
2% infrastructure
4-5% public education (public K-12, in state college, etc)

The US spends about ~30% of GDP on public sector initiatives. Of our 20 trillion economy, we spend about 6 trillion in the public sector, funded by taxes. Pensions for the elderly and disabled, health care, military, infrastructure and education are big ones. Those come to about ~22-24% of GDP.

France has those same things, but collects and spends 46% of GDP. What is France spending the extra ~20% of their economy on? Does welfare for the poor really take up 20% of the economy? I find that hard to believe.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:13 PM
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Also your education figures are way off. The US spent $706 billion in public funds on K-12 seduction in 2015.

.
I love autocorrect sometimes
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Wesley Clark
France has those same things, but collects and spends 46% of GDP. What is France spending the extra ~20% of their economy on? Does welfare for the poor really take up 20% of the economy? I find that hard to believe.
At the risk of an almost tautological oversimplification - France has a much larger (proportionally) public sector than the US. The French public sector represents more than half of GDP, including the same stuff as the US (education, military, justice system), but also a lot of stuff that's private sector in the US. Examples - a large share of utilities, the largest telco, a huge public transportation network, large parts of extractive industries etc. This can be through outright management, where employees of an industry are civil servants, but also through ownership and investment in "private" corporations, where the state is a large or majority shareholder. The 'safety net' represents about half the budget (mostly pensions), the aforementioned public investment a quarter, closely followed by education then military.

On the other hand, over recent years successive French governments have been gradually trying to shrink the public sector, partly for budget balancing, partly as a backdoor way to transfer public wealth to their supporters. For instance, the state is currently floating an IPO for half of "Française des Jeux" which is basically the lottery plus a state monopoly on various other gambling products.

And purely anecdotally, this wealth transfer to supporters system also works in the other direction. In a notorious case a few years back, the french state bought out a failing fast food chain at a gross overvaluation - said fast food chain happened to belong to a friend of then president Nicolas Sarkozy Link in French for the seriously motivated
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:10 AM
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The UK spends well over 50% of tax revenue on welfare, health and state pensions. Education is another 13%. The figures do not include indirect taxation though: Sales taxes (on most non-food goods) are 20% and there are local taxes which fall far short of the total needed to provide local services (made up from general taxation). Fuel is heavily taxed with around half the £1.20 we pay for a litre going to the government.

A worker on £30k ($38.5k) would pay around £6k ($7.7k) in direct tax which would be deducted by their employer. Local taxes are typically around £1800 per household.

Last edited by bob++; 11-11-2019 at 06:13 AM.
  #33  
Old 11-11-2019, 07:47 AM
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but you can't just throw out the part in the US that covers private spending.
Since the entire thread is about public spending, not only can you throw out private spending, you must throw it out.

OP isn't asking that complicated a problem people. But it gets complicated if you insist on on answering a question you've made up instead of the one being asked.
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:09 AM
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But the question has been answered. That apparently some people won't be convinced until they get an answer indicating that some governments spend their budget on rainbow ice cream pooped by unicorns will not change reality.
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:55 AM
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But the question has been answered. That apparently some people won't be convinced until they get an answer indicating that some governments spend their budget on rainbow ice cream pooped by unicorns will not change reality.
No, people have answered different questions. Or offered guesses out of ignorance (e.g. you didn't know or bother to check whether the numbers in the OP included state spending yet still felt compelled to post un-cited guesses with no numbers.)

But I suppose that's the OP's fault for not putting this on GQ.

So we know it's not healthcare. Unsupported guesses thus far have included:

Welfare
Pensions
Education
Government ownership and operation of activities that are private here
Tax abatement
General safety net
Maternity/paternity/childcare/sick leave
Public transit
Infrastructure
Tax expenditures
Probably others that I missed.

And any and all need to be enough to counter anything we spend more public money on as a share of GDP. Like defense.
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:24 AM
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The biggest outlay in the Norwegian budget is pensions. And other social support.

There are two nice income/outgoings pie charts here. There is an English section, but it does not include the pie charts, so maybe google translate? If anyone has a similar thing for the US, it should make comparisons easier.
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:56 AM
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Those aren't guesses, Ruken. If you want to take a look at the specific budgets of countries say so.

But I warn you: if you want to account for every penny in the Spanish budget, that's several hundred thousand budgets, and they'll be either in Spanish or in a more-obscure language!

Last edited by Nava; 11-11-2019 at 10:57 AM.
  #38  
Old 11-11-2019, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Ruken View Post
No, people have answered different questions. Or offered guesses out of ignorance (e.g. you didn't know or bother to check whether the numbers in the OP included state spending yet still felt compelled to post un-cited guesses with no numbers.)

But I suppose that's the OP's fault for not putting this on GQ.

So we know it's not healthcare. Unsupported guesses thus far have included:

Welfare
Pensions
Education
Government ownership and operation of activities that are private here
Tax abatement
General safety net
Maternity/paternity/childcare/sick leave
Public transit
Infrastructure
Tax expenditures
Probably others that I missed.

And any and all need to be enough to counter anything we spend more public money on as a share of GDP. Like defense.
No, we dont know it's not healthcare.

Everyone is comparing % of GDP spent on healthcare, not % of taxes.

Yes, I know, % of GDP is easy to find, since the pro-UHC people (of which I am one) like to use that to show the USA already spends a lot of health care (govt spending, business spending and personal spending) so yes we could afford UHC.

But from what little i am able to glean, the nations with the Highest taxes do spend part of that on healthcare, but mostly a bigger better safety net.
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Old 11-11-2019, 01:26 PM
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But the question has been answered. That apparently some people won't be convinced until they get an answer indicating that some governments spend their budget on rainbow ice cream pooped by unicorns will not change reality.
It hasn't. People have offered speculation but not as much concrete evidence.

Nations like Canada & Iceland, which are considered nations with a good social safety net spend 30-35% of GDP on taxes. Whereas nations like Denmark and France are closer to 45%.

https://www.oecd.org/media/oecdorg/s...ax%20small.JPG

As far as saying its because of things like electrical infrastructure in France, if that were true then people's electric bill would be paid by taxation and people wouldn't get electric bills. To my knowledge this is not the case.

I have no issue with a nation having higher taxes. I'd be fine with paying more in taxes (in the US) in exchange for medicare for all, more R&D spending, more renewable energy spending, free public college, mandatory paid vacation, maternity leave, etc. So this shouldn't be a debate on whether taxes and government are good or bad.

I'm just curious what a nation like France or Denmark, where 45% of GDP is done by the public sector do with that money vs a nation like Ireland or Greece where it is closer to 30%.
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Old 11-11-2019, 01:32 PM
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No, we dont know it's not healthcare.

Everyone is comparing % of GDP spent on healthcare, not % of taxes.

Yes, I know, % of GDP is easy to find, since the pro-UHC people (of which I am one) like to use that to show the USA already spends a lot of health care (govt spending, business spending and personal spending) so yes we could afford UHC.

But from what little i am able to glean, the nations with the Highest taxes do spend part of that on healthcare, but mostly a bigger better safety net.
Its still not relevant. If the US spends 30% of its economy via the public sector and devotes 8% of its economy to public sector health care programs, while a nation like Ireland collects 28% in tax revenue and spends 8% in public funds for health care while Denmark and France collect 45% in tax revenue and spend 8% for public health funds, that means places like the US & Ireland have about ~20% of GDP in public funds for non-health care issues while France and Denmark have 37% of GDP in public funds for non-health care programs.

So what is that 17% made of? A social safety net shouldn't be that expensive, since most people aren't poor. Also we have a social safety net in the US, even though it isn't as extensive. Also nations like Canada have good social safety nets and they only collect about 32% of GDP as taxes. Germany has an extensive social safety net and they collect about 37% of GDP as tax revenue.

Free public college is cheap.

My impression is infrastructure doesn't cost 'that' much either. Even much more extensive infrastructure should in theory only cost at most an additional 1% of GDP in public funds or so (based on the article I posted earlier implying EU spending should be increased to 700 billion, which would be 3.5% of EU GDP. So its lower than that, and not much off the 2% the US spends.
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Old 11-11-2019, 01:48 PM
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Its still not relevant. If the US spends 30% of its economy via the public sector and devotes 8% of its economy to public sector health care programs, while a nation like Ireland collects 28% in tax revenue and spends 8% in public funds for health care while Denmark and France collect 45% in tax revenue and spend 8% for public health funds, that means places like the US & Ireland have about ~20% of GDP in public funds for non-health care issues while France and Denmark have 37% of GDP in public funds for non-health care programs.
..
Perhaps, really- stop comparing apples to oranges. % of GDP is not % of taxes.

I know it's kinda hard to find what % of budget is spend on healthcare, but I did find a few budgets and yes, they do spend more on healthcare. Not enuf to make up the whole difference, sure. Most of that is safety net.
  #42  
Old 11-11-2019, 01:49 PM
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A social safety net doesn't cover only the poor, it's not catastrophic insurance.

Parts of the Spanish safety net which cover me at zero POD cost include healthcare (preventative, professional and curative), professional training, courses with a cost of admin fees and (if applicable) books from public universities, unemployment services, off the top of my head. If I were third-party employed and became unemployed I'd also get unemployment pay (I can't get it because I'm self-employed). For my mother, it has included or will eventually include things such as home assistance, reduced cost of assisted living facility... Back when I was in college, it provided me with a beca de desplazados: a grant from my regional government, automatically given to any regional student who was in college more than 100km from home.

I'm in the top 1% of earners, she's got the highest pension the country pays (she has more disposable income than either of my brothers).

And I have no idea how do you decide that "free public college is cheap". At POD sure. But one of the reasons every goddamn university on Earth has a law school is that teaching law school is cheap. Astrophysics, Biochemistry or Mechanical Engineering, nowhere near as cheap.

Last edited by Nava; 11-11-2019 at 01:53 PM.
  #43  
Old 11-11-2019, 02:06 PM
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...
Free public college is cheap.
...
It would cost around $50 billion for the USA. Not cheap. In the la\ong run perhaps a great investment, but not cheap.
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:15 PM
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As a % of GDP, free public college is cheap. Its about 1/3 of 1% of GDP. It doesn't explain the massive differences in public sector spending.
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:18 PM
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A social safety net doesn't cover only the poor, it's not catastrophic insurance.

Parts of the Spanish safety net which cover me at zero POD cost include healthcare (preventative, professional and curative), professional training, courses with a cost of admin fees and (if applicable) books from public universities, unemployment services, off the top of my head. If I were third-party employed and became unemployed I'd also get unemployment pay (I can't get it because I'm self-employed). For my mother, it has included or will eventually include things such as home assistance, reduced cost of assisted living facility... Back when I was in college, it provided me with a beca de desplazados: a grant from my regional government, automatically given to any regional student who was in college more than 100km from home.

I'm in the top 1% of earners, she's got the highest pension the country pays (she has more disposable income than either of my brothers).

And I have no idea how do you decide that "free public college is cheap". At POD sure. But one of the reasons every goddamn university on Earth has a law school is that teaching law school is cheap. Astrophysics, Biochemistry or Mechanical Engineering, nowhere near as cheap.
A lot of the things you describe are health care related. Which most wealthy nations other than the US offer to everyone.

We have unemployment insurance in the US. Ireland likely does too, same as Denmark and France.

Either way, you're in Spain correct? Spain spends about 30% of GDP on the public sector. Far lower than places like Denmark or France. So all the stuff you describe comes at about the same public sector spending as the US spends.

https://www.oecd.org/media/oecdorg/s...ax%20small.JPG
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:22 PM
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Perhaps, really- stop comparing apples to oranges. % of GDP is not % of taxes.
There are a lot of posts in this thread like this, but I think that Wesley Clark has it right.

If the US (as a whole) collects 27% of GDP in taxes and spends 8% of GDP on public health programs and France collects 46% of GDP in taxes in spends 8% of GDP on public health programs, then we are comparing apples to apples. All numbers are in terms of %GDP.

And the result is that the US spends 19% of GDP on non-health government expenditures and France spends 38% of GDP on non-health government expenditures, and the question is: Where does it go?

This wikipedia page has a table that lists government employees. It's fairly out of date, but it gives at least an idea of where most French civil servants work. Looks like about half are employed in education. It's hard to find statistics for the US, but I expect that's the place to look. I bet a decent chunk of the difference is explained by that. Note that most of it is not in higher education, so it's (mostly) not free college, it's very labor-intensive primary education.
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:31 PM
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There are a lot of posts in this thread like this, but I think that Wesley Clark has it right.

If the US (as a whole) collects 27% of GDP in taxes and spends 8% of GDP on public health programs and France collects 46% of GDP in taxes in spends 8% of GDP on public health programs, then we are comparing apples to apples. All numbers are in terms of %GDP.

And the result is that the US spends 19% of GDP on non-health government expenditures and France spends 38% of GDP on non-health government expenditures, and the question is: Where does it go?

This wikipedia page has a table that lists government employees. It's fairly out of date, but it gives at least an idea of where most French civil servants work. Looks like about half are employed in education. It's hard to find statistics for the US, but I expect that's the place to look. I bet a decent chunk of the difference is explained by that. Note that most of it is not in higher education, so it's (mostly) not free college, it's very labor-intensive primary education.
I appreciate that, but I don't think its education either, here is why.

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cmd.asp

The US spends $12,800 per primary and secondary school student. France spends $10,000. Granted France has an economy that is only about 2/3 the size of the US (in per capita terms), but the US has free K-12 education and heavily subsidized tertiary education. Even when you adjust for the lower per capita spending (a nation with 60k per capita has more money to spend on education than a nation with a 40k per capita income), spending on education is comparable.

Also a nation like South Korea which has a smaller share of GDP devoted to the public sector than France spends more on education than France.
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  #48  
Old 11-11-2019, 03:08 PM
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The US spends $12,800 per primary and secondary school student. France spends $10,000. Granted France has an economy that is only about 2/3 the size of the US (in per capita terms), but the US has free K-12 education and heavily subsidized tertiary education. Even when you adjust for the lower per capita spending (a nation with 60k per capita has more money to spend on education than a nation with a 40k per capita income), spending on education is comparable.
That's per student enrolled in public education. About 10% of US students go to private schools. Maybe the rate is lower for France.

If we assume it's 0 for France, then the France is spending 10,000/12,800/0.9/(2/3) ~= 1.3 times as much GDP on education as the US (before factoring in higher ed). US GDP spend on (primary) public education is around 4%, so that puts Frances at 5.2%, etc. I expect that there are a lot of things like this. A % of GDP here and a % there and pretty soon you're looking at real money.
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:16 PM
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I'm just curious what a nation like France or Denmark, where 45% of GDP is done by the public sector do with that money vs a nation like Ireland or Greece where it is closer to 30%.
I think if you spend some time with the link I posted and maybe google translate, it'll help. But here is a ore detailed breakdown of that:

Social support:
Pensions: 232
Sick pay: 42
Other social purposes: 140
Health services: 32
Cash to parents: 20
Employment: 11

Transfers to lower administrative levels (Municipalities and... kinda state-like lower administrative levels): 171
Regional health care: 159
Transport and communications: 72
Defense: 60
Higher education: 40
Foreign Aid: 36
Farm subsidies: 15
Child benefits and cash to parents: 16
Interest on public debt: 10

Other: 268. Which is a fairly large fraction.

But at a guess, it is the pensions, the 2 years of unemployment benefits at 66% of you salary, the year of paid maternity leave, the free housing and minimum income for the rock-bottom people, the cash payments to people with kids, as well as things that add up, such as free higher education. And especially, the low amount paid on interest on the national debt which we have decided to have for some reason.
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Old 11-11-2019, 04:27 PM
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I think if you spend some time with the link I posted and maybe google translate, it'll help. But here is a ore detailed breakdown of that:

Social support:
Pensions: 232
Sick pay: 42
Other social purposes: 140
Health services: 32
Cash to parents: 20
Employment: 11

Transfers to lower administrative levels (Municipalities and... kinda state-like lower administrative levels): 171
Regional health care: 159
Transport and communications: 72
Defense: 60
Higher education: 40
Foreign Aid: 36
Farm subsidies: 15
Child benefits and cash to parents: 16
Interest on public debt: 10

Other: 268. Which is a fairly large fraction.

But at a guess, it is the pensions, the 2 years of unemployment benefits at 66% of you salary, the year of paid maternity leave, the free housing and minimum income for the rock-bottom people, the cash payments to people with kids, as well as things that add up, such as free higher education. And especially, the low amount paid on interest on the national debt which we have decided to have for some reason.
I did, but the problem is that funding comes from city, county, state and federal level in the US. I assume its similiar in other places. As a result getting the correct info is hard.

For example in the US, K-12 education tends to be funded on the city and county level. College and university is funded on the state level. Very little of education is funded on the federal level. If all you look at is federal spending, you'd think the US spends almost nothing on education. But thats because most education is local and state for that.

Military is almost exclusively funded on the federal level by comparison. State funding has a role too, but its mostly federal.

Medicare is funded on the federal level, but medicaid is funded via a mix of state and federal funding.

Norway has a GDP of about 3.6 trillion NOK. The national insurance is 478 billion NOK, about 13% of GDP, the old age pensions are about 6%. In the US the social security program is about 5%. So the money spent on old age pensions is not much different, but higher in Norway (as one would expect). But only 1% of GDP.

And the US does have various forms of welfare for the sick, disabled and poor. But they're funded on multiple levels and hard to really all figure out.

Basically, its hard to figure out. But nations like Spain and Canada, which spend about 30% of GDP in the public sector have pretty advanced social welfare policies, the same as you'd expect in nations spending closer to 45% like Denmark and France.
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