Why don’t we have more immigrants from Norway?

Norway has a vibrant economy based on natural resources and tourism with clean air, water, and forests, protected by strict environmental rules. They produce oil but have a carbon tax with revenues dedicated to renewable power research and policy goals of reducing carbon emissions and stabilizing global climate change. Residents attend high-quality technical schools and universities for free. Their universal access healthcare system has government-funded hospitals, free care for those under 16 or pregnant, free choice of provider, public or private insurance for others (cost: 9 percent of GDP vs. the 25 percent of GDP we pay) and with guaranteed net neutrality, efficient public transit systems (with bus schedules coordinated with train schedules) and high-quality roads (funded by gas taxes). They have the highest percentage of electric cars of any country in the world. Norway is at or near the top of almost every ranking of quality of life and satisfaction. Their pension system ranks number No. 1 in the Natixis Global Retirement Index. They have universal access to high-speed broadband. Why would any Norwegian want to come here?

To get more immigrants from Norway, we need to make the U.S. more attractive to them. The president should suspend efforts to overturn the Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Rule and increase the EPA’s budget for clean air and water programs instead of cutting them, including removal of the WOTUS budget rider. He should recommit the U.S. to the Paris Climate Agreement and publicly call for actions similar to Norway’s. He should ask Senator Sanders to develop a universal single-payer health care plan for the U.S. These actions would not only make our country more attractive to Norwegians but also to Americans.

Coincidentally, they would also help protect the water quality of Maine’s lakes, rivers and streams and reduce ocean acidification in the Gulf of Maine.

Peter Kallin, Ph.D.

President, Maine Lakes Society