Why would the U.S. want to be like Denmark?

Writing in New York magazine, Jonathan Chait asks, "If we want to be like Denmark, whom do we tax?"

Turning into Denmark would be sheer folly for the United States, or almost any other OECD nation.

We'll start with real per capita GDP.  It is 22% higher in the U.S., meaning that being like Denmark would involve giving up a substantial portion of the average individual national wealth.  That doesn't seem wise.

Denmark's real per capita GDP is lower now than it was in 2004.  A decade of darkness.  Make that a decade and a half: since 2000, its real per capita GDP has increased – in total – only 2.6%.  As anemic as the American growth rate is, it is fivefold faster than Denmark's.

Denmark has a far higher rate of assault than the U.S. (i.e., the Danes are very violent), and its violent crime rate is headed through the roof.

Americans also score much better in terms of self-reported health.  So much for that socialized medicine advantage.

Job security and the long-term unemployment rate are about equal in the two countries, so no check mark for socialism here, either.

Household net adjusted disposable income and household financial wealth are far lower in Denmark than the U.S.  In fact, the U.S. leads the OECD by large margins in both fields.

Housing expenditures make up a much larger percentage of household income in Denmark (24%, the fourth worst in the OECD) than the U.S. (18%, the fourth best behind only Russia, South Korea, and Norway [the first two don't count]), and for that lower expense ratio, the Americans get 25% more household space per person.  A win-win for the U.S.

The U.S. wins by a long shot on housing, income, and health, and it's a tie on jobs – all the objectively measurable points that matter.

And to achieve this victory, the all-in average personal income tax rates at average wage in the U.S. are upwards of half the rate the Danes are suffering under.

Want to pay much more to be much poorer?  Move to Denmark.

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