In some circles (such as on the pages of the National Post), whenever the virtues of the Nordic model are cited, a standard riposte is "What about Ireland?"
Well, indeed. When I was putting together the graphs for this post, I found that Ireland was quite literally off the chart.
Here are the graphs from that post (with the original least-squares fitted regression line), with Ireland included:
It's pretty clear that the Irish have made quite different political choices than have been made by the Nordic countries: social spending as a percentage of GDP is less than in the US. But the Irish experience doesn't really provide an alternative economic model. It has lower corporate taxes, higher consumption taxes, and higher income tax rates than what we have in Canada - just as the Nordic countries do.