McClaughry: Sanders and Denmark

By John McClaughry

Bernie Sanders is fond of explaining socialism by pointing not to Nicaragua or Cuba or Venezuela but to Scandinavia, especially Denmark. Veronique deRugy, writing in Reason magazine, offers some additional information about how the Danes do it, and it’s sure not Sanders’ socialism.

She explains that the generous welfare benefits Denmark offered in the 1970s dug a large fiscal hole, that ever since the Danes have been trying to backfill.

The Danes lowered their top income tax rate from 73 to 63 percent, lowered the corporate tax rate from 50 to 22 percent, abolished the wealth tax, reduced the length of government supplied unemployment benefits from indefinite to two years, and raised the retirement benefit age.

Its parliament passed an act in 2014 aimed at ensuring a balance or surplus on the general government balance sheet and tight expenditure management across government. The annual deficit can’t exceed half a percent of Gross Domestic Product.

The independent Danish Economic Council assesses annually whether government policy is adhering to the targeted structural public balance, and whether the proposed expenditure ceilings are consistent with medium term projections in the structural balance for public finances. In 2017 the country ran a budget surplus of 1.09 percent of GDP.

In short, the capitalistic Danes are letting economic growth bring in the revenues to pay for the welfare state, under tight budgetary controls. I suppose Bernie has no idea about any of that.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Guz Alv

4 thoughts on “McClaughry: Sanders and Denmark

  1. Even the Scandinavian model of socialism is failing due to the fact as always:

    You Eventually Run Out of Other Peoples (or oil) Money…… every time, every where…
    The scandies are frantically trying to get out of socialism but finding the people have grown to love it.. the pending economic collapse will cure them.
    The problem for burnee is the internet and Venezuelan people pissed at socialism can spread the word about how burnees little ideas work out.

  2. It’s amazing how Bernie has been able to push this lie/propaganda for years. Thank you for calling out his nonsense. Why haven’t’ any others in the press been calling him out over the years for his blatant misrepresentation? Interesting question huh? WHY? The Smear by Sheryl Atkisson…….shed’s some serious light.

    Bernie shouldn’t even be able to start the sentence without the press calling him out. It’s like letting him say the sky is red every day and nobody says anything. Sorry Bernie, the Scandinavian countries are hyper capitalists….

  3. Using any Scandinavian country as an example of democratic socialism that would work for the US is simply using apples to make orange juice.
    Those countries spend a small amount of their annual budget on a standing Army, we spend 47%. Those countries do not allow unfettered lobbying of special interests, of course the US does. While this is changing due to immigration, most of those countries have a homogeneous population, culture and community and a relatively shared vision of who they are and where they have come from, the US used to, especially with it’s immigration that worked hard to amalgamate into this culture.
    So, in my opinion, for Beriista, or anyone, to say we could successfully migrate quickly to any form of democratic socialism as exhibited by ant Scandinavian country is just pure fools gold thinking.

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