Paul Krugman has Bernie's back: "Hard to imagine a better refutation of anti-tax, anti-government economic doctrine"

Conservatives get it wrong: Denmark has amazing benefits, high tax rates and a thriving economy, says Krugman

By Salon Staff
Published October 19, 2015 10:47AM (EDT)
Paul Krugman       (AP/Heribert Proepper)
Paul Krugman (AP/Heribert Proepper)

Paul Krugman has news for those who think European-style democratic socialism wouldn't work here: "The Danes get a lot of things right, and in so doing refute just about everything U.S. conservatives say about economics."

In his New York Times column this morning, Krugman continues the conversation about Denmark which led to one of the big compare-and-contrast moments between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton during last week's Democratic debate. And he has some facts for Republicans who think every European economy looks like Greece's.

Denmark maintains a welfare state — a set of government programs designed to provide economic security — that is beyond the wildest dreams of American liberals. Denmark provides universal health care; college education is free, and students receive a stipend; day care is heavily subsidized. Overall, working-age families receive more than three times as much aid, as a share of G.D.P., as their U.S. counterparts.

All this happens, he notes, with a very strong economy -- despite tax rates that would cause Grover Norquist to pass out.

Strange to say, however, Denmark doesn’t look like a set from “Mad Max.” On the contrary, it’s a prosperous nation that does quite well on job creation. In fact, adults in their prime working years are substantially more likely to be employed in Denmark than they are in America. Labor productivity in Denmark is roughly the same as it is here, although G.D.P.per capita is lower, mainly because the Danes take a lot more vacation.

Nor are the Danes melancholy: Denmark ranks at or near the top on international comparisons of “life satisfaction.”

It’s hard to imagine a better refutation of anti-tax, anti-government economic doctrine, which insists that a system like Denmark’s would be completely unworkable.

Read the entire column here.

Salon Staff

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