What about Denmark, a Democratic debate topic? | Arkansas Blog

Monday, October 19, 2015

What about Denmark, a Democratic debate topic?

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2015 at 7:35 AM

Bernie Sanders has said his idea of socialism is the type found in Denmark. Hillary Clinton said she likes Denmark, but Denmark isn't the U.S.

In case you wondered about Denmark, Paul Krugman offers a summary in the New York Times today.

It's a place of high taxes — 25 percent sales tax and income tax with a top rate of 60 percent. But it's also a place of great government benefits — free college plus stipend, heavily subsidized daycare, universal health care.

Describe these policies to any American conservative, and he would predict ruin. Surely those generous benefits must destroy the incentive to work, while those high taxes drive job creators into hiding or exile.

Strange to say, however, Denmark doesn’t look like a set from “Mad Max.” On the contrary, it’s a prosperous nation that does quite well on job creation. In fact, adults in their prime working years are substantially more likely to be employed in Denmark than they are in America. Labor productivity in Denmark is roughly the same as it is here, although G.D.P. per capita is lower, mainly because the Danes take a lot more vacation.

Nor are the Danes melancholy: Denmark ranks at or near the top on international comparisons of “life satisfaction.”

It’s hard to imagine a better refutation of anti-tax, anti-government economic doctrine, which insists that a system like Denmark’s would be completely unworkable.

What's not to like? Well, Krugman says it has recovered slowly from the global economic slump, which he puts down in part to monetary policy and spending cuts.

Krugman says, pluses or minuses aside, it's refreshing to hear some political conversation that suggests America can learn from other countries.. It is a pleasant switch from the "exceptionalism" theme of most Republicans.

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