Unlike the U.S., the Danes are blissful, successful and highly taxed

18 Jul

There’s a happy little country in Europe that is so successful, foreigners pay to put money in its banks.

That’s called negative interest. Denmark, population 5.5 million, asks for it and gets it. Mounds and mounds of Euros from the troubled European nations are flowing into Denmark as a safe haven. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the negative interest is low, with two-year debt yielding between minus .05 percent and minus .08 percent, but it shows the strength of that economy.

Unlike the U.S., Denmark has a positive trade balance, relatively low government debt and an unemployment rate of about 6 percent. (compared to about 9 in the U.S.) The Danes are said to be some of the most contented people in the world.

Oddly, or perhaps not, Denmark has the highest rate of taxes in the world.

Isn’t that ironic?

We in the United States are, for the most part, miserable and worried about our jobs, the economy and taxes. Our total taxes, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, are 24 percent of GDP. In Denmark, people are completely satisfied with paying taxes equal to 48 percent of GDP.

“We have a luxury problem,” said Jacob Graven, chief economist at Denmark’s fourth largest bank.

Sometimes, solutions to seemingly unshakable problems can be found in the most unlikely, 180-degree alternatives. To often, however, the ether of the American culture has convinced us they are off-limits, extremely dangerous and will erode and ultimately destroy our way of life.

Why are we Americans, known for innovation, so averse to opening our minds? Who is responsible for closing them, and how did they manage to do such a great job of it?

4 Responses to “Unlike the U.S., the Danes are blissful, successful and highly taxed”

  1. Systemic Disorder July 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Danes, like most Europeans, will stand up and fight for themselves. People in the United States don’t — and that is the crucial difference. At one point in the late 1990s, there was a general strike in Copenhagen in which one of the crucial demands was a sixth week of paid vacation.

    Social safety nets don’t appear out of the blue nor or they perks handed to us. They are struggled for and won in long campaigns. The two decades in which people in the U.S. won significant advances, the 1930s and 1960s, were times in which there were mass movements of people. The movements in the 1930s were strong enough for the system to be threatened, and the massive reforms of the New Deal was the result. The system was not under threat in the 1960s, but nonetheless that decade’s ferment was strong enough to merit a response.

    When there is no struggle, no fight, no demands, reforms and advances are taken away. People in the U.S. could have what people in Denmark have – if they asked for it, and organized to win it.


    • NotebookM by Lanny Morgnanesi July 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      Thanks for reading and for your insightful comment. I hope a full discussion follows. American conservatives who despise unions don’t realize they have off on the weekends because of them.


  2. Rick Senkowsky July 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    Apples and oranges. I have heard this discussion so often that I had to do some reading and talking to people and the conclusion was this. Denmark like so many of the smaller european countries don’t have the responsibilities that the larger US is faced with. Our infrastructure costs alone would preclude us having government provided bliss. Also, what is bliss, last Summer I read about the government flying around in helicopters looking for people using barbecue grills. Now if you don’t know what you are missing then I guess bliss is easily obtainable.
    I work for an international company with a Danish subsidiary and it is funny when you talk about trade surplus and unemployment as they have to have everything manufactured elsewhere otherwise it wouldn’t be competitive in the world market.
    My only point is that no matter where you go and how hard you look you will find a silver lining no matter how small it may be, even if it is a weekend off from time to time.


    • NotebookM by Lanny Morgnanesi July 18, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

      Always enjoy hearing your view on things. There is much truth in what you say, and I appreciate you taking the time to say it.


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