Modern Europe has been the softest side of socialismwrites the Bookworm in the Weekly Standard.
It lets people have their own businesses, but keeps services such as health care, railways, and heavy industry (coal mining, steel production), under its control. It also buries its citizens under regulations. Every single aspect of life in a modern European socialist country is regulated.
For a long time, Europeans thought they’d found the perfect solution in this “loving” socialism. Their citizens could run their own businesses and make money, so they had some economic growth. In addition, in exchange for extremely high taxes, the citizens got “free” medical care (which they’d prepaid with their taxes), low-cost train and bus fares, and good elder care. It all looked so beautiful in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
What the Europeans conveniently forgot was that, after WWII, it was American money that rebuilt their infrastructure. This meant that Europeans didn’t have to repay capital investments.
Europeans also liked to ignore that, during the entirety of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, America paid Europe’s defense costs. That free up money for all the free medical care and cheap train fare that Europeans liked to boast about as a sign of their superiority. None would admit that they didn’t have “free” medical care — they had American-funded medical care.
Maggie Thatcher, who was the conservative Prime Minister in England during the 1980s, famously said “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.” In Europe, American money started vanishing when the Cold War ended.