I’ve been thinking about this one for SEVEN MONTHS, and finally
decided stopped being lazy enough to post it. Denmark Thrives Despite High Taxes:
Mr. PETERSEN: Yeah, there’s a kind of slack in the system.
KESTENBAUM: Denmark has an interesting kind of hybrid economy. It has this huge welfare state, but it has also fiercely embraced a lot of free market ideas. The unemployment benefits are generous, but it’s also very easy to fire people. That makes the economy nimble. Employers can get rid of workers when they dont need them and hire them back quickly when they do. Petersen says losing your job here is just not that big a deal.
Now, all countries face choices like this: How do you want to set up your economy? Those decisions shape how you live and your psychology. In Denmark, for instance, there aren’t severe class distinctions because the poor get helped, the rich get taxed, so everyone gets squashed into a big, fat middle class.
One economist told me: Look, we dont have any geniuses and we dont have the best pro athletes - they leave because of the high taxes - but overall we’re doing well.
Naturally, there are some concerns about just being average as a nation. However, with so many people falling out of the United State’s middle class, I think something has to change the distribution of wealth.
I hear all these arguments about raising taxes and welfare: “oh the government’s inefficient” or “I don’t want my money going towards some low-income person who puts rims on their car and gets a cell phone before buying food” or “I worked too hard for what I’ve got to waste it”. These are simply rationalizations for not wanting to part with money. If you don’t want to give other people money to help them, just say that. Don’t do a bunch of logical gymnastics around the issue — you’re either comfortable with trusting your money to a greater good, or you aren’t. Just say which one, and we’ll stop wasting one another’s time.
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