Swayed by Bernie, CNN visits Denmark to see what the fuss is about

Crack team of reporters scrutinise the dream state model that the US president candidate raves so much about

Bernie Sanders (photo: Phil Roeder) Bernie Sanders (photo: Phil Roeder)
February 18th, 2016 3:03 pm| by Lucie Rychla
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The US television channel CNN recently sent a team of journalists to Denmark to investigate what makes Danish society so unique that US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is praising it so much, reports Berlingske.

The Democrat, who describes himself as a democratic socialist, has repeatedly highlighted Denmark as “a model for his vision of an ideal American future”, writes CNN.

“I think we should look to countries like Denmark, Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people,” Sanders said in the first Democratic debate last October.


Economic security
“In Denmark, there is a very different understanding of what freedom means. They have gone a long way to ending the enormous anxieties that come with economic insecurity,” Sanders wrote in an essay in 2013.

During their visit, the CNN journalists have interviewed several Danes in order to learn more about the Danish state model and welfare benefits such as free education, medical care and paid maternity leave that Sanders has mentioned in his political speeches.

High taxes
“‘Free’ is actually the wrong word to describe these services,” write Chris Moody  from CNN.

“Danes pay some of the highest taxes in the world, including a 25 percent tax on all goods and services and a top marginal tax rate hovering near 60 percent. The top tax rate in the US, by comparison, is less than 40 percent.”

Generous benefits
However, according to a new report from job site Glassdoor and Llewellyn Consulting, Denmark is the best country among 13 EU nations and the US when it comes to workplace benefits.

The Scandinavian country offers the best unemployment benefits, mandatory 18-week maternity leave at full pay, fully paid sick leave for up to 52 weeks, and 25 days paid holiday per year.

Meanwhile, the US ended at the bottom of the rankings.

It works
“The question is not how much tax you pay or how big your government is, it’s whether it works,” Bo Lidegaard, the CEO of Politiken, told CNN.

“It’s whether you get return on your payment. We pay a lot of taxes, but we get a lot in return.”