I'm from Sweden and for the last 90 ears have we mainly have had a socialist leaning government, and look at the results! Sweden have great health care, free denial care until you are 21, schools that are controlled by the state and that does not cost you a singel krona (our currency) and you can get anywhere in life with that education. although our government have lost it's roots and have gone more and more to the right and started to privatised some of our health care we still have a good social structure on our contry.
Bear in mind most American conservatives cannot (or don't bother) to distinguish between the Nordic model of socialism (which does actually have a dynamic private sector) and the dismal state socialism once practiced by the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, where the Bureau of Non-Home Meals runs storefronts and sets the price of a half-moldy cheeseburger at $1.50 and if you complain the secret police come to take you away. These two models are quite distinct, yet the Tea Partiers lump them together.
I am a supporter of regulated capitalism (the means of productions are privately owned, but with public regulation and oversight). The way I see it, the American economic model has five major shortcomings:
1) The wealth is no longer going to those who actually produce value
. One of the major talking points of free-market economics is that capitalism rewards those who produce goods and services of value, thereby encouraging them to produce more. But with multimillion-dollar golden parachutes to CEOs bailing out of failed companies, and billions going to banksters who create phony (or at least rather questionable) "securities" like collaterized debt obligations and securitized mortgages, this incentive to produce is broken. And in the meantime, the wages of the working class--people who undeniably produce value--have been stagnant or in decline for well over a decade now.
2) We have embraced free trade at all costs, rather than fair
trade. The free-market crowd claims competition is best, and for the most part I agree. But the point the lassiez-faire crowd misses is that competitions have rules that all who compete must follow. America has every right to tariff goods from countries that manipulate their currencies, bust unions, have lax or no environmental safeguards, and so forth. We need to withdraw from WTO, GATT, NAFTA and so forth.
3) We have allowed our infrastructure and civic institutions (like our education system) to decline. Whether it's gas pipelines in urban centers exploding, bridges collapsing, or student test scores falling, America has been underinvesting in infrastructure and education for quite some time now. This is already exerting a drag on our output, and it's just going to get worse until the underinvestment is addressed.
4) We have allowed an excessive disparity in wealth to develop between rich and poor. I differ from most Swedes in that I believe there is value in the rich being rich and those who produce being able to prosper...but there is a point of diminishing returns, and clearly America passed it some time ago. Even Henry Ford, one of the richest industrialists of his day, recognized that the working class had to be reasonably prosperous for industrial capitalism to function. After the "Reagan Revolution," we lost sight of that and figured that the more rounds of golf played per capita in the millionaire class, the more society as a whole would prosper. Wrong. We need to work at reducing the gap between rich and poor to a more productive level.
5) Much of the wealth and power America has today was built on the exploitation of non-renewable energy resources. The trouble with market economics is that its view is myopic. We aren't looking ahead, to the day that is no longer far distant when we're going to be looking at a permanent shortage of crude oil and coal. Long ago, we should have begun taxing oil and coal and increasing levels, to get the market to put a premium on them and encourage development of sustainable, renewable energy resources. At this point, we are going to need more direct government involvement to steer the economy away from these fast-dwindling resources, and to perfect permanent replacements, like wind, solar and thermonuclear fusion.