While attending a vaccine center in Washington, D.C. last week, where Covid vaccines were being given to kids between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, President Biden stated:
We’re the only country in the world doing this right now. This is a great day for you all. Thanks for the example you are setting.
He was obviously proud.
But measuring your country against other countries is not a good way to tell whether you’re doing right and they’re doing wrong, or vice-versa.
In his book One Billion Americans, Matthew Yglesias made a similar claim in the other direction. He wrote:
It’s true that the United States has been painfully slow compared with some peer countries to provide subsidized child care.
In context, Yglesias was clearly saying that we in the United States should step up and imitate those peer countries. That’s why the words “painfully slow.”
The best way to tell whether a policy is good or bad is to examine the principles behind, and the details of, the policy.