Tuesday, February 25, 2020

No Bernie, Denmark is Not a Socialist Utopia - Brian C. Joondeph

by Brian C. Joondeph

Bernie is simply cherry picking the policies of Denmark, such as generous welfare benefits, that he finds attractive, ignoring the numerous programs that are far more aligned with Donald Trump than the modern Democrat Party.

Socialist/communist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders loves to sing the praises of a small Scandinavian country, Denmark. It seems he has fallen out of love with his previous favorite countries, the Soviet Union and Cuba, which he “warmly praised” in the late 1980s. 
After spurning the USSR, the country he spent his honeymoon in, shirtless, singing along drunkenly with his fellow communist comrades, he has moved on to northern Europe as representing his idea of utopia. 
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As CNN reported about Bernie’s newfound love,
Open a newspaper on any given day here in this small Europe nation known for high taxes, generous government services and its stubbornly happy citizens, and you'll almost certainly find a story about the U.S. presidential election.
"I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway," Sanders said, "and learn what they have accomplished for their working people."
Danes may indeed be happy, but they bristle at being called socialists.
"I would like to make one thing clear," Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said recently in a speech at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. "Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy."
That hasn’t deterred Bernie, however. At a recent Democrat debate he proclaimed, "We should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people."
So, what’s the magic in Denmark? Denmark is the second happiest country in the world, just behind Finland, according to CNN Travel. The US sits in 19th place. If you watch a Trump rally, you would find nothing but happiness. Compare that to a Bernie rally or a Democrat debate where the only messages are misery and victimhood. 
Denmark is fortunate that they don’t have our 24-7 cable news networks preaching gloom and doom and a major political party telling everyone how rotten Denmark is, a nation of victims. Who could be happy listening to nonstop pessimism?
Denmark is far from a socialist economy; instead they are the type of market economy that Bernie and his fellow Democrat candidates rail against. The CIA World Factbook describes Denmark this way.
This thoroughly modern market economy features advanced industry with world-leading firms in pharmaceuticals, maritime shipping, and renewable energy, and a high-tech agricultural sector. Danes enjoy a high standard of living, and the Danish economy is characterized by extensive government welfare measures and an equitable distribution of income. An aging population will be a long-term issue.
Wow, a market economy, not big government controlling healthcare, energy, communications, and tech, as the Democrats desire for America. But these extensive welfare measures have a cost.
How does GDP per capita compare between the US and Denmark? In Denmark it’s $50,000, but in the US it’s 20 percent higher at $60,000. 
Denmark, as a member of NATO, enjoys military protection paid mostly by America. The US spends 3.1 percent of GDP on defense, compared to 1.3 percent by Denmark, leaving them more to spend on their “extensive government welfare measures.” 
This applies to most European countries, happy for America to pay for their national defense, leaving them more money for extended family leave and other benefits.
How do taxes compare? After all, how does Denmark pay for their welfare benefits? From CNN,
"Free" is actually the wrong word to describe these services. Danes pay some of the highest taxes in the world, including a 25% tax on all goods and services, a top marginal tax rate hovering near 60%. The top tax rate in the U.S., by comparison, is less than 40%.
Bernie’s tax plan calls for a top tax rate north of 50 percent. He also wants a wealth tax of up to 8 percent on the Michael Bloombergs and Warren Buffets of the world.
Nothing is truly free. Taxes simply take money from citizens, purchasing “benefits” that some use or want and others don’t. Minus a hefty administrative fee to redistribute everyone’s income. Hardly free. 
What about some of Denmark’s programs that are more in line with Trump than with Bernie? Democrats are famous for situational praise and outrage. 
For example, John Bolton was evil when he was nominated by George W Bush for UN Ambassador, but a saint when he was willing to testify in the Ukraine impeachment trial. Mitt Romney was a racist, sexist, reprobate when running for president against The One, but became Mother Theresa when he was the sole Republican casting a vote to convict President Trump in the Senate. 
So too with Denmark. There are other parts of the Denmark model that Bernie and his fellow socialist candidates would want no part of. Again, from CNN.
As a small country heavily reliant on trade, Denmark imposes minimal tariffs on foreign goods. Businesses here are only lightly regulated. The corporate tax rate is much lower than in the United States, which has one of the highest in the world. There's not even a minimum wage in Denmark, although most workers are paid high salaries in large part due to the strength of labor unions. And in the past few years, Danish voters elected a right-of-center government, which has been instituting reforms that have put tighter restrictions on access to the long-held safety net.
Every Democrat candidate is pushing for a higher minimum wage, yet Denmark has none. Danish immigration policy would also be anathema to Democrats.
Denmark has some of the most aggressive anti-immigrant policies in Europe. That has included taking out foreign-newspaper adverts warning potential migrants that they are not welcome, and authorizing police to seize cash and valuables from arriving asylum seekers to offset the cost of their maintenance.
Denmark has an island, 3 kilometers off shore, to house “rejected asylum seekers.” Our Democrats whine about “kids in cages”, a policy started under a Democrat president. What if President Trump turned Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California into a giant detention center, following the Denmark model?
Let’s ask Bernie if he endorses Denmark’s other immigration policies including a burqa ban, mandatory schooling in “Danish values” for ghetto children, and required handshakes with immigration officials regardless of an immigrant’s beliefs about physical contact with members of the opposite sex.
A Danish People’s Party spokesman believes Trump’s policies on immigration are “too weak.”
We’re a small country, and what binds us is a common language, and a common set of traditions and values. If we let in a large number of foreigners with their own cultures, ours will be overwhelmed.
Imagine hearing that from any Democrat candidate.
Bernie is simply cherry picking the policies of Denmark, such as generous welfare benefits, that he finds attractive, ignoring the numerous programs that are far more aligned with Donald Trump than the modern Democrat Party.
The reality is that, as CNN notes, “Few Danish politicians today would characterize themselves as ‘socialist’ -- even a ‘democratic socialist’ -- as Sanders does.” Ironically Trump has already instituted many Danish policies that Bernie now criticizes Trump over.
Yet Bernie continues to sing the praises of Denmark as his utopia, with no scrutiny from the lapdog media over a more complete analysis of Danish policies. But make no mistake, Denmark is not the socialist utopia Bernie Sanders claims it to be.
Brian C Joondeph, MD, is a Denver based physician and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in American Thinker, Daily Caller, and other publications. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and QuodVerum.

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/02/no_bernie_denmark_is_not_a_socialist_utopia.html

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1 comment:

HPC old boys Club said...

Bernie will also be thrilled to learn Israel's current GDP is higher than that of Denmark.

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