The United States Is Already At Least As Socialist As Denmark


To be, or not to be Denmark? That, apparently, is the question for Democratic presidential candidates.

Perhaps unexpectedly, the beautiful northern European country of Denmark emerged as a topic of conversation during this week’s Democratic Party presidential debate. The small Scandinavian monarchy plays an important role in progressive mythology. It is a place many liberals want America to become, and both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton sung its praises during the debate. A closer look at Denmark’s public policies is, therefore, warranted. It yields some surprising results.

First, in terms of national well-being, the United States performs slightly better than Denmark. The United Nation’s Human Development Index, a composite measure of human well-being based on educational attainment, life expectancy, and income, ranked the United States in fifth place and Denmark in eighth place in 2013. On a scale from 0 (worst) to 1 (best), the United States scored 0.91, while Denmark scored 0.9.

Crucially for Sanders, long an unabashed protectionist, and Clinton, who has recently backpedaled her support for trade liberalization, Danish trade with the rest of the world is much freer than America’s. Again turning to Canada’s Fraser Institute, Denmark had the world’s fourteenth most liberal trade regime in 2013. The United States came in a miserable forty-first place out of 115 countries surveyed.

Of course, there are other important differences between the United States and Denmark. And none more relevant than the “size of government,” a proxy measure for taxation and redistribution. Of the 123 countries surveyed by the Fraser Institute, Denmark came in one hundred and nineteenth, while the United States came in fifty-fifth.

Full article: The United States Is Already At Least As Socialist As Denmark (The Federalist)

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