Switzerland Must Be Doing Something Right

30 Oct

The other day I jokingly told my favorite Martian over at An Alien Mind that I’d have to move to Switzerland to get my health care needs met if McCain won the presidency.  Since then I’ve been thinking a whole lot about that comment and starting reading up about other nation’s governments, like Canada, the United Kingdom, and (yep) Switzerland.

Here are some of the things I like about Switzerland’s federal republic form of government:

  • Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world by per capita gross domestic product.
  • Switzerland has a long history of neutrality—it has not been at war since 1815.  They may not be joining in any fighting, but that doesn’t mean they’re sitting ducks; they’re prepared to defend themselves.
  • Switzerland is not a member of the European Union.  Hey, I don’t care to be part of the North American Union, either.
  • There are three main governing bodies on the federal level: the bicameral parliament (legislative), the Federal Council (executive) and the Federal Court (judicial).  More about that Federal Council later.
  • Through referendums, citizens may challenge any law passed by Parliament and, through initiatives, introduce amendments to the federal constitution, making Switzerland a direct democracy.  I especially like the idea that a group of citizens can challenge a law that has been passed by Parliament if they can gather 50,000 signatures against the law within 100 days. If successful, a national vote is scheduled where the voters decide by a simple majority whether to accept or reject the law.
  • The Federal Council is a collegial body of seven members, elected to serve for four years.  One of the seven members is elected each year (traditionally in rotation) to serve as President of the Confederation. However, the President is a primus inter pares with no additional powers.  This makes their President less of a boogey-man than ours, and I like that.
  • The Swiss government has been a coalition of the four major political parties since 1959, each party having a number of seats that roughly reflects its share of the electorate and representation in the federal parliament; currently there are 1 Christian Democrat, 2 Social Democrats, 2 Liberal Democrats, and 2 representatives of the Swiss People’s Party. This traditional distribution of seats is called the “magic formula,” and is not backed up by any law.  This concept also puts the noses and fingers of all the parties inside the door and on the buttons; talk about having to work together and bi-partisanship!
  • Switzerland has an overwhelmingly private sector economy and low tax rates by Western standards; overall taxation is one of the smallest of developed countries.  It has one of the strongest mixed economies in the world. It has the 2nd highest European rating after Ireland in the Index of Economic Freedom 2008, while also providing large coverage through public services. The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report currently ranks Switzerland’s economy as the second most competitive in the world.  In other words, they haven’t fucked it up; they’ve made things better for everyone!

It seems to me Switzerland must be doing something right.  All their citizens are armed to defend themselves and their country (which should satisfy everyone against gun control), yet crime is basically non-existent (which should satisfy everyone for gun control), health care and social services are provided for all (which should satisfy all us liberals), yet taxes are still low (which should satisfy all you conservatives), and no one person is in charge long enough to wreck the country and decisions really are made by the majority (which should satisfy everybody, regardless of whether they are left, right or center–or even green and not from Venus!).

Maybe I’ll move to Switzerland, regardless of who wins the presidency.  On second thought, those Alps are covered in snow & ice and snow & ice is cold and I probably hate cold more than I hate McCain & Palin–and that’s really saying something!!


2 Responses to “Switzerland Must Be Doing Something Right”

  1. gt281 October 31, 2008 at 5:58 PM #

    The Alps were only moved there to keep the chocolate from melting…
    You forgot to say anything about the chocolate….I just hope that
    skirt wearing little no nosed invader doesn’t know the password to
    my Swiss bank account….I’m sure that when he (it?) gets back we’ll have to endure his vacation pics of cows and cow bells…

    • Faerie♥Kat October 31, 2008 at 7:51 PM #

      How could I have forgotten the chocolate?!!! Chocolate is every faerie’s
      best friend. However, I do not like Swiss cheese; do you think they will
      hold this against me?

      > [Original Message]

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