One of the things that irritates me the most about libertarians in the West is when they compare their country to the Soviet Union. Here's an example from the Adam Smith Institute's blog, in the UK, which is apparently a pretty influential free market think tank:
According to new research for The Sunday Times by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, state spending as a percentage of GDP has now reached 49% for the UK as a whole.
That's bad enough as it is – the government now controls practically half of the UK economy – but when you look at the regional figures the picture is even worse.
In the Northeast, state spending is 66.4% of GDP. In Wales, it's 71.6%. And in Northern Ireland, it's a whopping 77.6%.
I don't think the Soviet Republics ever managed to achieve quite that degree of state dominance.
Seriously?! You think that Wales is more socialist than the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic was? And this is leaving aside the obvious ridiculousness of trying to quantify how statist an economy is, considering that often times regulations that don't show up on the budget are far more consequential and disruptive than actual expenditures.