October 23, 2015
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ comments that the U.S. should be like Denmark has gathered media attention, including an article by Paul Krugman. This presidential hopeful eager to win the election describes a Danish utopia with “free” education and health care and that the U.S. would just do it like Denmark.
As an American who has lived in Denmark for the last five years, worked in Danish companies, attended Danish universities, and had two children in the country, I’d like to shed some light. There are many things the U.S. can learn from Denmark and appreciate about the vital political and economic cooperation between our countries that dates from 1783, as well as the fact that the U.S. has been enriched by many Danish immigrants. But, here are 10 reality checks for the senator from Vermont and the Nobel economist about the so-called Nordic utopia.
1. Education is not “free” in Denmark
There is no doubt that a sustainable funding mechanism for college education is an important policy for any modern country, but if one pays upwards in 56% in income tax and 25% in sales tax (including a 105-180% tax on cars) to fund education and other social services, one would not call it “free.” The downside of the Danish model is that many university students take it for granted and take an additional year to complete their studies.
Read the full article at Forbes.com: 10 Things Bernie Sanders (And Paul Krugman) Should Know About Denmark