Michael Moore’s ‘Where to Invade Next’ will make you think

Michael Moore visiting a school cafeteria in France in ‘Where to Invade Next’

Let me begin with a disclaimer.  I have issues with some of Michael Moore’s documentary films because, IMHO, I think there are places where he has played fast and loose with the facts.  Since documentaries are supposed to be the true story, without poetic license, I find that objectionable.  I have no such issues with Where to Invade Next.  Mr. Moore has stepped up his game and this film is both informative and entertaining in the extreme.

The premise is unique.  Rather than invading other nations to conquer them, Michael Moore goes there in search of ideas to steal to improve the U. S. economy, education system and in general; to raise our standard of living.  The eyebrows of corporate CEOs and Human Resource professionals will be raised mightily by Moore’s sojourn through Italy.  So will the owners of shares of stock in U. S. corporations when they see profits can be made while offering very generous benefit packages and many more weeks of vacation than what U. S. employers offer.  Then their minds will be blown when they learn just how much maternity leave a female worker in Italy receives.

Moore travels to an ordinary public school in France where the students are served multi-course gourmet meals at lunch.  Meals that are so wonderful that the students there can’t comprehend what we serve students in public schools here in the u. S.  He visits Slovenia where he learns that even foreign students can attend the universities there for almost nothing, while the locals pay absolutely nothing.  Contrast that with the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition in any of the 50 U. S. states.

A chart showing the individual tax burden by country
A chart showing the individual tax burden by country

Staying with the students and educational system examination, Moore moves on to Finland, a nation that has one of the world’s most well-educated populations.  Students in elementary school there have almost no homework and spend fewer days and hours in class than American public school students.  How do they make this miracle work?  Moore shows us.

This is not a complex examination of the economies and systems of these nations that allow them to offer what they offer.  Aside from business leaders in Iceland and Italy articulating how they feel required to provide equality of treatment and excellent benefits/opportunities for their workers, we hear nor see anything about how all of this largess is funded.

In the making of Where to Invade Next, Michael Moore visited Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Slovenia and Tunisia.  With the exception of Tunisia, the individual tax burden is higher in all of them than it is in the U. S.  The programs that we see thanks to Mr. Moore’s various invasions are wonderful but the issue of how to pay for them is never addressed.  This omission is the only real flaw in his analysis and critique of our society and how we might improve it.  This is mentioned not as a judgment as to whether or not we need the improvements he is suggesting, but to point out someone has to foot the bill.

None of this detracts from what is ultimately an entertaining, easy to watch movie that informs and provokes thought.  Don’t miss it.

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