Monday, June 30, 2014

Denmark's a Role Model

Why is Denmark the happiest place to live? Unions and employers in Denmark have no minimum wage, but both have agreed on a wage of $20.30 (U.S. equivalent) an hour (1.00 Dutch Krone (DKK) = 0.183640 U.S. dollar, which means their economy is a lot stronger than ours). Denmark also has free education for everyone of all ages and academic levels in its country of 5.6 million college-age students 18 years or older. College students who live on their own receive a monthly stipend of $1,028 (U.S. equivalent), but those living with their parents receive half that amount. The government has persuaded unions to accept a flexible labor market using a model known as “flexicurity,” companies can quickly lay-off workers during downturns in the economy, but workers receive training and help looking for new jobs. They also receive a benefit of $1,902 (U.S. equivalent after taxes) a month for up to two years. Employees also receive free healthcare and a generous pension system with fuel subsidies and rent allowances for the elderly. The wage disparity between the rich and poor is the second smallest among the world’s 34 most developed economies. Denmark is surpassed by an even smaller economy, Slovenia. The top paid Danes earn on average four times as much as the lowest paid 20 percent of the workers. In the U.S., the top earns eight times more than the bottom 20 percent. So what is the problem with the USA? Is it because we have let the greedy oligarchs take over our lives while we were sleeping on the job and to dumb down our workers with useless crap and information making us too lazy to fight for themselves? We are the only nation where people will line up to be the first to purchase the newest iPhone or see the latest movie, but won’t fight for their rights; where people know who useless wannabes like the Kardashians are, but not their elected officials. Whatever it is, we ought to consider taking a step back and look around at the rest of the world and compare what other countries are doing for their workers. Change starts at the bottom, not the top. The top wants things the way it is because they and only they are benefitting. Remember President Reagan’s “Trickle Down Theory,” that just means the wealthy pisses on the poor and nothing more. We keep electing the same people to office, thinking they will help us and then they don’t, they just help themselves to lobbyists’ money. Politicians will never help us at the bottom; they are bought and paid for by corporations and people like the heartless Koch brothers and that fossil Sheldon Adleson. In a recent “secret” meeting, the Koch brothers said they are prepared to spend $300 million to take the U.S. Senate. If that doesn’t scare you, you probably shouldn’t be voting. The next time you are in the voting booth, think Denmark and $20.30 an hour and all the benefits all their workers receive, then vote for the candidate you think will serve your interests best; but the work doesn’t stop there for you must closely watch your elected official to ensure they continue to hold your interests above their own selfish interests or the greedy money people’s interest. Don't let people tell you it can't be done, look at Denmark, if they can do it any country can.