Friday, March 6, 2009
Michigan - The New Denmark?
The governor of Michigan this week held up Denmark as a fine, upstanding
example of “job creation” and lauded its terrific energy policies. It appears that Denmark has it all in her eyes, in fact.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm, in her remarks, says, “Denmark leads the world in wind power technology, an industry employing 20,000 people in a nation with half Michigan’s population. In fact, Denmark has a 2.2 percent unemployment rate. Denmark-based Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, is a bright spot in a slumping world economy, reporting a 51 percent rise in operating profit for 2008.
Denmark has cut residential electricity usage to less than half of the typical U.S. household while maintaining the highest standard of living among Nordic countries. And that nation’s gross domestic product doubled during the past 30 years while electricity consumption has stayed constant.”
OK, we can go there in that Denmark is an example of good government in that the roads are plowed and free of potholes and most people are employed. And can we add that some there have a good sense of humor? After all, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten is where the cartoons lampooning Muslim Prophet Muhammad first appeared in 2005. Now that’s funny.
In the meantime, in Michigan and in many other U.S. states, we have government here that is appallingly ineffective and wasteful and hamstrung by overwhelming layers of bureaucracy.
Let’s also be aware that nearly 45% of Denmark’s working population lives on government-tied funding, and a full 33% of Demarkians work for the government. This requires a tax rate of around 68%, including sales and other sundry taxes. A new car purchase includes a tax of nearly 100% and gas runs about $7 a gallon. Denmark also has what some call the most stringent immigration laws in Europe, laws that would inflame even the most moderate progressive.
The independent spirit that has served the U.S. in so many ways is quite markedly absent in Denmark. Yes, you can attend university for free. But if you choose not to attend, the government is there to ensure you have a paper-pushing job that provides free health care – which may or may not work out for you – and six weeks of vacation a year.
Oops: headline and subhead in today’s Jyllands-Posten:
"Failure of treatment of elderly…We need a small revolution in health care, says a think tank."
Well, anyway, when Granholm holds up Denmark as any kind of model, be it on energy or otherwise, there is a subtext that should be pondered. Recall the workaday in Orwell’s 1984. The nanny state, one in which the truly wealthy are mostly government connected, is a very scary place. And Granholm, who has no trouble paying her bills, is the perfect advocate for such a state.