Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Nirvana of Denmark

First off, let me apologize for suggesting that you should watch the Democratic Presidential debate last night.  You are probably waking up this morning thinking that you live in the worst country on the face of the Earth--and if you are a white guy, it's all your fault.  You are probably giving serious thought to moving to the country that was hailed as a model for all of civilization last night--the nirvana of Denmark.

For as great as living in Denmark was made out to be last night you would think that it's population would be 5.6 Billion people--since everyone would want to live there--instead of 5.6 Million.  Their McDonalds workers make the equivalent of $20 and hour, they have one of the highest rates of college education, universal healthcare and unemployment programs that pay 90% of your previous salary--even if you quit your job instead of getting laid off.

Now if you move to Denmark you should be willing to accept some changes.  For starters, forget about any diversity in the population.  Danes are 95% white and the few people of color are recent immigrants from Middle Eastern countries that have come to do to the service jobs Danes no longer want to do.  Don't worry about having to "press one for the native language" either--as more than 95% of the population speaks Danish.  Denmark has a state church--but don't worry, only 3% of people attend mass regularly and less than half of the population actually believes in God.

Just to warn you, you are going to be in for a real shock when you get that first paycheck.  The minimum income tax rate in Denmark is 40%--and it goes up into the 60% range as you make more money.  And you might be in for sticker shock when you head to Ikea as the Value Added Tax is 25% on all merchandise.  Speaking of sticker shock, just wait until you head to the few car dealerships in the country.  The 25% VAT is dwarfed by the 140% registration tax on all vehicles.  Yes, you will pay more in taxes on your car than you will for the car itself.  And then you will fill up with some of the most expensive petrol in Europe--even though oil and natural gas are major Danish exports.  This explains why most Danes drive beaters brought in from other parts of the Continent and ride bicycles everywhere.

Despite the universal health care, you can expect to live just one year longer than the average American.  It turns out that having so much free time on their hands thanks to the Government providing for their every need, Danes tend to drink and smoke a lot and get fat.  And I hope you weren't planning on buying a house.  Only citizens are allowed to own property in Denmark.  And those who do buy a house do so through Federal mortgage programs that are structured to build up nearly NO home equity over the term of the loan--so in effect you are just renting your house from the government.

Now comes the tricky part--actually being allowed to live in Denmark.  In order to avoid being overrun by freeloaders, the country has very tight immigration laws.  If you are the descendent of a current Danish resident you can probably get it.  If you are coming to work and already have a valid work permit, you can get it.  If you can prove that you are fleeing political persecution in your home country, a limited number of you can get in.  And once you arrive, you can expect the Danish government to tell you where you have to live.  The "Change for Everyone" law allows municipalities to deny housing to applicants from other countries so as to avoid the creation of "ghettos"--so you will have to move on down the road to another town where there are fewer of "your type".

I guess that is why Bernie Sanders and his supporters want to make the US more like Denmark--since the Danes don't really want to spoil their Garden of Eden.

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