Denmark: the country US politicians can’t stop referencing

Bernie Sanders is a well-established fan, and now so is rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent New York-based Democrat member of Congress of Puerto Rican heritage, recently became the latest in a long line of US politicians to mention Denmark – positively, of course.

End the legislated poverty!
Ocasio-Cortez, who was among the female politicians who former US President Donald Trump suggested in July 2019 should “go back and help fix” the countries they come from, is incredulous that paying people a living wage in the US, which is currently just 7.50 dollars an hour, is even up for debate.

While the Republicans have suggested it should be 10 dollars an hour at most, which Ocasio-Cortez describes as “legislated poverty”, President Joe Biden has set his sights on doubling it to 15.

In underlining her argument, she cited how much McDonald’ workers in Denmark are paid on Twitter: “McD’s workers in Denmark are paid $22/hr + 6 wks paid vacation. $15/hr is a deep compromise – a big one, considering the phase in.”

Bernie Sanders made a similar reference last year.

AOC needs a lesson in flexicurity
Of course, Denmark doesn’t have a minimum wage – a reality that the former environment minister, Ida Auken, was quick to point out in an op-ed for the Washington Post.

The comparatively high wages, the former Radikale MP explained, are a result of the “Danish labour-market model, also known as ‘flexicurity’ because it offers flexibility and security for workers and employers alike”.

Accordingly she surmised: “Ocasio-Cortez is right to look to us Danes for inspiration; she is not right in linking Danish McDonald’s workers’ pay to her call for a government-controlled minimum wage.”