I’m a huge fan of Switzerland, largely because its voters approved a spending cap that should be a role model for other nations.
It’s called the “debt brake” and it has helped reduce the burden of government spending in Switzerland at a time when most nations in Europe have been moving in the wrong direction.
But that’s not the only reason I like Switzerland.
I also appreciate the fact that Swiss voters seem to be much more sensible than voters in other nations.
Every so often I see polls, for instance, suggesting that French voters overwhelmingly want less government spending. But then they go out and elect statist presidents such as Sarkozy and Hollande.
In Switzerland, by contrast, voters are sensible where it counts most – in the voting booth.
Earlier this year, 76 percent of voters rejected a minimum wage hike.
Back in 2010, nearly 60 percent of voters shot down a class-warfare proposal for higher taxes on the rich.
And they’ve done it again. In a recent referendum, they defeated a government-run healthcare system by a landslide.
Here are some excerpts from an AFP report.
Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a plan for a seismic shift from the country’s all-private health insurance system to a state-run scheme. Referendum results showed that almost 62 percent of voters had shot down a reform pushed by left-leaning parties. …”The Swiss population does not want a single national scheme,” said the Swiss Insurance Association. “Our health system is among the top performers in the world. Competition between health insurers and freedom of choice for clients play a major role in this,” it added. …The rejection of the plan by nearly two-thirds of voters is a major blow for pro-reform campaigners, given that opinion polls had shown the ‘No’ vote was likely to be around 54 percent. In a 2007 referendum, 71 percent of voters rejected similar reforms. …for Switzerland’s cross-party government and its right- and centre-dominated parliament, the current system has proven its mettle and is debt-free, unlike the health services of France, Italy or Britain.
Though it seems that speaking French is somehow linked to economic illiteracy.
German-speaking regions voted against the plan, while their French-speaking counterparts were in favour.
Back in 2011, I wrote that there were five reasons why Switzerland was better than the United States.
But perhaps I wasn’t being sufficiently enthusiastic. Over at Being Classically Liberal, there’s an article entitled “9 Reasons Libertarians Should Love Switzerland.” Here’s the bottom line.
The Swiss are rich, happy, gun-owning, peace-loving people. The country has one of the freest market economies in the world and a relatively small and very decentralized government which hasn’t waged war since the early 19th century. In this libertarian’s eyes, Switzerland might just be the most awesome country in existence.
And if you believe in grading on a curve, the burden of government spending in Switzerland is far smaller than it is in neighboring nations.
So it is a very admirable place.
Though I haven’t given up on America quite yet. And if I ever do, I’ll still choose Australia over Switzerland.
P.S. While it is encouraging that Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected a single-payer healthcare scheme, I should acknowledge that their current system is not exactly libertarian Nirvana since it mandates that households purchase a health insurance policy.
P.P.S. But I don’t want to close on a bad point, so I’ll simply call your attention to the fact that Switzerland has one of the lowest levels of welfare spending among industrialized nations.