www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-scandinavia-letter-20120228,0,7860896.story

baltimoresun.com

Government can't dictate upward mobility

3:45 PM EST, February 28, 2012

Advertisement

I have habitually and patiently read Thomas F. Schaller's column for some time now. His most recent ("An American recipe for class immobility," Feb. 21) warrants a response.

First of all, I am hopeful that Mr. Schaller understands the fundamental differences between Scandinavian countries (with roughly 26 million homogenous inhabitants) and the United States (a nation of 310 million multi-ethnic residents). Let's not forget some salient political and economic differences: Denmark has one of the most stringent immigration regulations in the European Union. The external debt per capita for countries such as Denmark and Norway are about twice that of the U.S. The day of reckoning for these countries will come.

Among the references to the mythical benefits of expanded unionization, increasing taxes on wealthy individuals, and raising the minimum wage, Mr. Schaller goes on to blame conservative interest groups in thwarting the democratic process. Although there is little substance to this claim, perhaps we should put to a national referendum to say, President Barack Obama's national health care plan.

Indeed, there are some profound challenges that many Americans face in improving their personal economic circumstances. However, mobility can't be engineered by a government policy. The goal is to foster economic opportunity. This is why Europeans, including the Scandinavians whom Mr. Schaller worships, continue to emigrate to America.

Neal W. Bonner, Ellicott City