Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What happens when you tax the hardworking, and subsidize the needy?

Danes are some of the happiest people in the world:

  ...Parents in all income brackets, for instance, get quarterly checks from the government to help defray child-care costs. The elderly get free maid service if they need it, even if they are wealthy.
...Danes work short hours and all enjoy perks like long vacations and lengthy paid maternity leaves, not to speak of a de facto minimum wage approaching $20 an hour. 

The only problem is that Denmark is  running out of money to pay for the big safety net.   With marginal tax rates as high as California's (56%), many workers are jumping out of the labor market and into the generous safety net.  Over 9% of the workforce is "disabled," and thus qualified to receive generous benefits. 

Robert Nielsen, 45, made headlines last September when he was interviewed on television, admitting that he had basically been on welfare since 2001.
Mr. Nielsen said he was able-bodied but had no intention of taking a demeaning job, like working at a fast-food restaurant. He made do quite well on welfare, he said. He even owns his own co-op apartment.
...“Luckily, I am born and live in Denmark, where the government is willing to support my life,” he said.


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