A Fox Business host has drawn the ire of angry Danes after she tried to use their country to warn Americans of the perils of socialism.
Trish Regan was making the argument that the economic model “never works” and cited Venezuela and Denmark as examples.
“As Shakespeare said: ‘There’s something rotten in Denmark’. Because Denmark’s freebies? They’re anything but free. We’re talking about a federal tax rate of 56%. In other words, everyone in Denmark is working for the Government. And this doesn’t even include the 25% VAT.”
This is true - Danes pay one of the highest tax rates in the world and they’re quite happy to do so.
Writing in 2016, chief executive officer of the Happiness Research Institute, Meik Wiking, said: “We are not paying taxes. We are investing in our society. We are purchasing quality of life.
“The Danish welfare model provides opportunities for its citizens to pursue their happiness from advanced starting positions disregarding economic, social, gendered or cultural backgrounds.”
This is evidenced when looking at social mobility rates, the ease in which people from deprived backgrounds can climb the social ladder.
Denmark consistently rates higher than the US and as one report has concluded: “You are much more likely to achieve the American Dream if you live in Denmark.”
Regan: “And, no one wants to work and this is a real problem because they’re heavily in debt - but as of 2013 only three of the 98 municipalities actually had more than half the population working.”
This stat is indeed true but is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. The survey cited counted all Danes including children and the retired. The country’s actual unemployment rate in March 2013 was 7.1%.
In the United States around the same time it was 7.5%.
There’s also the fact that Regan is quoting a five-year-old study. Denmark’s government has since taken steps to address the issue and unemployment rates are currently around 4.8% compared to the US’s 3.9%.
Regan: “And I haven’t even gotten to school - school’s free, university’s free - that’s lovely. And they have a programme there, not only do you go to school, they basically pay you $990 a month to go to school. Not bad, eh?”
“And you know what happens then? Nobody graduates, they just stay in school longer and longer and longer. What’s supposed to be taking you five years is taking everyone 6+ years.”
There is a trend in Denmark of students who are reluctant to graduate due to the economic benefits of staying in education, but a law was passed in 2015 that attempted to address this.
And as noted above, unemployment levels are currently comparable to the US so Regan is basically complaining that Denmark provides free education which, let’s face it, isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Regan: “Because that’s the reality of socialism. Denmark, like Venezuela, has stripped people of their opportunities - is that the direction we want to go in?”
At this point we’ll hand over to the many actual Danish people who responded to the tweet.
Fellow conservative Anders Storgard called the clip “lies and misconceptions”.
Fellow news presenter, Klaus Bundgard, called the segment “absurd”.
Jens Villemoes highlighted numerous benefits to living in Denmark, not least the absence of Fox News.
And they continued in that vein...
UPDATE: Regan has said of the segment: “I do want to clarify my point from a segment last week on socialism. Just to be clear, I was never implying that conditions in Denmark were similar in any way to the current tragedy on the ground there in Venezuela.
“I was merely pointing out, using reports from The Atlantic, The Independent and other publications, that socialism is not the way.”