‘What have we got to lose?’

  • Published in Letters

To The Editor:

I never thought I’d say this, but I agree with Donald Trump about one thing – we need more Norwegians here. From everything I’ve read and heard, Norway is about as good as it gets as a place to live and Norwegians have recently replaced the Danes as the happiest people on Earth, according to the World Happiness Report (while the U.S. slipped somewhat to 14th place). There are many socioeconomic factors that influence happiness.

Norway has a high level of trust, while ours seems to be steadily declining these days. Norway has an excellent system of social and parental support, a lower teenage birthrate, less income inequality, better social mobility between income groups, a lower rate of drug abuse, less obesity and lower homicide and imprisonment rates than the U.S.

They get universal health care for roughly half the cost per capita of the U.S. (and a modest out-of-pocket annual deductible), and they don’t seem to object to paying relatively high taxes for the benefits they receive from government services – but I’m sure this is not at all what Mr. Trump had in mind when he expressed his recent fondness for them.

It seems to me that there is a lot we can learn from the Norwegians, and the sooner the better. I think we would be well advised to recruit teams of Norwegians to act as consultants (temporarily, they would all probably want to return home eventually) to Congress, state legislatures and government agencies at all levels. While they were here they could also make presentations to civic organizations and appear on radio and TV to tell us what their government and society have accomplished and how they did it. Perhaps the State Department could arrange that through the Norwegian Embassy if we ask them nicely. It’s worth a try and, anyway, what have we got to lose from seeing how others do things?

Paul Hanke