There’s a new meme going viral online, and it’s the dumbest image you’ll see all day:
Hundreds of thousands have shared the image on Facebook — because we’re apparently at the point where an image created in Microsoft Paint counts as an effective argument for socialism. And who needs citations when you can have your bias confirmed?
Such claims may be enough to satisfy an economic illiterate, but let’s review those claims, shall we?
Denmark has free healthcare and free college
As all are aware, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Along with the freebies Denmark offers, it’s also one of the most heavily taxes nations in the world. And, given that America has the world’s most progressive tax system, you can bet that a large share of the burden falls on the middle class in Denmark. In fact, the average Dane pays 45 percent in income taxes (there’s a minimum tax of 40 percent, while the top rate is 60.2 percent), and that’s before they pay a 25 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on everything they purchase with the income they do get to keep. Some municipalities even have their own extra income taxes on their residents.
Also, good luck with life’s big ticket purchases. There’s an 180 percent tax on cars (meaning a car selling for $25,000 in the US would sell for $45,000 in Denmark), and thanks to their tax on gasoline, you’ll be paying $6 a gallon at the pump.
Denmark’s minimum wage is $25 an hour, and has a 35 Hour workweek
This one is particularly hilarious, because Denmark has no minimum wage laws. Rather, wages are negotiated between unions and employer associations. The average minimum wage negotiated by them comes out to 115 Danish Krone per hour, or around $18 USD at today’s conversion rate. Of course, remember that while a minimum wage worker in America can expect to pay no net income tax (and just payroll, state, and sales taxes), the Dane has to pay a minimum of 40 percent, plus 25 percent on all purchases. Eighteen dollars is immediately reduced to $10.8, which can only purchase $8.64 worth of goods pretax.
It is true that the Danes do work a shorter workweek than Americans, perhaps because the reward for work is taxed so heavily.
Denmark is the happiest country in the world
Scandinavian countries tend to occupy the status of being the happiest, despite their high taxes and cold weather. What could possibly be the cause? One theory:
Who can blame them? If you were paying nearly seventy percent of your income in taxes you’d be on drugs too.