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Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Friday, May 08, 2020

Nicholas Kristof: Before the coronavirus pandemic, I crept behind [expletive] Danish lines to explore: How scary is Denmark? How horrifying would it be if the United States took a step or two in the direction of Denmark? Would America lose its edge, productivity and innovation, or would it gain well-being, fairness and happiness?

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fta: "So, here, grab a Danish, and we'll chat about how a [expletive] progressive country performs under stress. The pandemic interrupted my reporting, but I'd be safer if I still were in Denmark: It has had almost twice as much testing per capita as the United States and fewer than half as many deaths per capita.
Put it this way: More than 35,000 Americans have already died in part because the United States could not manage the pandemic as deftly as Denmark."

#1 | Posted by ichiro at 2020-05-08 06:37 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"Would America lose its edge, productivity and innovation, or would it gain well-being, fairness and happiness?"

I would start by floating Denmark's 25% Value Added Tax and see how Americans responded.

#2 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-09 04:11 AM | Reply

I would start by floating Denmark's 25% Value Added Tax and see how Americans responded.

#2 | POSTED BY MADBOMBER

Did it make them more capable of dealing with something like COVID?

#3 | Posted by jpw at 2020-05-09 04:21 AM | Reply

#3 Yes. They are paying workers 75% of their salaries during the shutdown as long as the companies don't fire anyone, guaranteeing 70% of new bank loans to companies, and suspending hurdles to unemployment benefits.

Their economy is strong and can handle the above. They have a large surplus and are running negative interest rates. All in the face of the big scary VAT that madbum likes to cry about constantly.

#4 | Posted by JOE at 2020-05-09 07:07 AM | Reply

I would start by floating Denmark's 25% Value Added Tax and see how Americans responded.
#2 | Posted by madbomber

Because every salesman starts their pitch with the biggest fault.

I'm pretty sure McDonald's wouldn't be opening stores there if they weren't making a profit.

#5 | Posted by TFDNihilist at 2020-05-09 07:58 AM | Reply

"Did it make them more capable of dealing with something like COVID?"

for workers, yes. All the European (or most, at least) countries have existing plans in place that allowed for workers who were put out to continue to receive a large portion of their income. Joe says 75% in Denmark. I think it's 60% here in Germany.

"All in the face of the big scary VAT that madbum likes to cry about constantly."

Who's crying?

Like I've said previously, I very little issue with Germany's fiscal policies, and I find them to be quite fair. I think that the US should at least have a discussion about following suit. But you can't have a realistic conversation about doing these things without also discussing how they would be funded. And for Bernie and Liz, it was 100% make the rich pay for it. That's very un-European.

#6 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-09 09:35 AM | Reply

And for Bernie and Liz, it was 100% make the rich pay for it. That's very un-European.

This is absolutely true in one sense and misleading in another. The tax payments are less progressive in a lot of European countries when compared to the U.S. (well, that used to be the case, anyway), however there is nothing like America when it comes to the pay/wealth gap for CEO/COO/CFO types and the average worker, or any high paid worker to average workers. That delta isn't culturally acceptable in Denmark or other Nordic nations.

#7 | Posted by YAV at 2020-05-09 10:00 AM | Reply

-All in the face of the big scary VAT that madbum likes to cry about constantly.

The point is that this country would scream about a VAT and it couldn't be sold here.

#8 | Posted by eberly at 2020-05-09 10:09 AM | Reply

I think that the US should at least have a discussion about following suit. But you can't have a realistic conversation about doing these things without also discussing how they would be funded.

You frame the discussion negatively 100% of the time. Stop pretending you think it might be a good idea. You're a libertarian, arent you?

#9 | Posted by JOE at 2020-05-09 10:45 AM | Reply

"This is absolutely true in one sense and misleading in another. The tax payments are less progressive in a lot of European countries when compared to the U.S. (well, that used to be the case, anyway), however there is nothing like America when it comes to the pay/wealth gap for CEO/COO/CFO types and the average worker, or any high paid worker to average workers. That delta isn't culturally acceptable in Denmark or other Nordic nations."

Unacceptable according to who?

If you're in the highest tax bracket, you'd pay more in income tax living in CA than you would living in Germany. And maybe you know more than me, but I'm not aware of any national policy (at least in Germany) that confiscates earnings for wealthy people above a certain rate.

#10 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-09 11:28 AM | Reply

The point is that this country would scream about a VAT and it couldn't be sold here.

#8 | POSTED BY EBERLY

Sad but true.

And despite the fact that the system here is clearly broken for the average individual.

#11 | Posted by jpw at 2020-05-09 11:30 AM | Reply

"You frame the discussion negatively 100% of the time. Stop pretending you think it might be a good idea. You're a libertarian, arent you?"

I tend to lean libertarian because I'm an American.

My biggest problem with the US system is the erosion between the sense of rights and responsibilities. In the US, the left views high income earners as a cash cow that they can draw from, allowing a large segment of the population to avoid having to pay for the services provided by government, as well as the services they need to survive. Much like rich kids who think that their parents should pay for everything without them having to do anything in return.

Europe is not like that. Whether you're the richest dude in Denmark, or the poorest, you each pay the same 25% VAT. Which means that even the lowest income earner is a stakeholder/investor in his or her country.

And for this reason, I view the European states as being more practical and pragmatic.

#12 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-09 11:40 AM | Reply

"And despite the fact that the system here is clearly broken for the average individual."

I get the vibe that European countries view themselves as a community, and that high taxes are a worthwhile expense to protect it.

In the US there isn't that sense of community. It's just people wanting to get whatever they can for themselves...rich or poor.

#13 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-09 11:42 AM | Reply

Unacceptable according to who?

The people of Denmark. I was explicit.
If you're unfamiliar with Denmark's culture, I suggest you research it. This is an interesting article, predicated on a study that is a bit controversial, but I think does a nice job of contrasting while staying neutral:

www.theatlantic.com

#14 | Posted by YAV at 2020-05-09 11:53 AM | Reply

The C-suite to worker pay gap in the US is due to weak/corrupt corporate governance. There is no correlation between highly paid CEOs and corporate performance. Although you could argue that failing companies may be hiring the best leadership to try to save themselves.

EU has similar GDP per capita to the US, but with less hours worked. They have better infrastructure, better governance, better healthcare, better education, happier people.

The US system is designed to enrich the 1% at the expense of the majority.

The US does have a very expensive MIC that can't seem to subdue starving ---- ------- --- -----, so I guess it has that going for it.

The US is in decline because it is full of stupid people.

#15 | Posted by bored at 2020-05-09 12:03 PM | Reply

So,let's get this straight.MB. You think Americans are selfish Ashholes, with no sense of the common welfare,always looking for a free ride.

Why would you want to fight and kill for such a depraved society?

The only Exceptionalism I heard you refer to is Exceptionally exploitative and short sighted.

Maybe you should retire from national service and cash in. Your heart Can't Really be in it if you truly feel that way about your native land.

Me,I have always believed what you just asserted about Americans. We ARE the biggest -------- on Earth. We do kill others and each other for stupid and self serving reasons.

I'm not in the military. I don't kill others in America's name. I'm not a hypocrite that way.

If you're not a true believer,and you're clearly not.

You should resign from the military.

Be honest about your true convictions.

#16 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2020-05-09 12:12 PM | Reply

"The people of Denmark. I was explicit."

Got it. Like I said, European countries (IMO) tend to have a heightened sense of community relative to the US. Ans the same thing could occur in the US if high income earner were willing to give their earnings over to the government. But writ large, I don't think they are.

#17 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-09 12:19 PM | Reply

Are You willing to give more of your earnings over to the gov? If not? You're part of the problem too. So which is is it?

#18 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2020-05-09 01:04 PM | Reply

"Ans the same thing could occur in the US if high income earner were willing to give their earnings over to the government. But writ large, I don't think they are."

They're not willing to give what they do right now, they are simply required to.

And if what you say is true, then Congress should simply demand more. To promote the General Welfare.

#19 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-05-09 01:16 PM | Reply

"But writ large, I don't think they are."

But there are far more of us than there are of them. We just need fair elections and their objections will be ignored, as they should be, as they were under FDR. We need to return to FDR's vision of America. Reagan's is killing us. May he burn in hell forever.

#20 | Posted by danni at 2020-05-09 01:36 PM | Reply

"So,let's get this straight.MB. You think Americans are selfish Ashholes, with no sense of the common welfare,always looking for a free ride.

Why would you want to fight and kill for such a depraved society?"

^
Like most who join the military, it wasn't for ideological reasons.

He simply needed a job and the USAF was the best offer.

And it's not like they're paying him to think. As is obvious, from his musings here.

#21 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-05-09 01:43 PM | Reply

Reagan is the root of the modern hatred of good governance. He is the patron saint of selfishness. He is the worst thing about modern republicanism. No question. The worst president morally in my lifetime, except George W Bush. And now of course our current Schittstain.

#22 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2020-05-09 01:50 PM | Reply

"Are You willing to give more of your earnings over to the gov? If not? You're part of the problem too. So which is is it?"

If voters in the US elected to go with a more European approach? You bet. I think it would be a good idea. I think it would be good for the country as a whole. I think this COVID thing has shown that.

#23 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-09 02:00 PM | Reply

We're on the same page then. Good man. I feel the same way. Everyone should have skin in the game.
A national VAT to fund universal health care would be awesome. I'm in.

#24 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2020-05-09 02:10 PM | Reply

"But there are far more of us than there are of them. We just need fair elections and their objections will be ignored, as they should be, as they were under FDR. We need to return to FDR's vision of America. Reagan's is killing us. May he burn in hell forever."

So...you're thinking like a Bolshevik.

The Bolsheviks thought that they would be most successful in feeding the newly established Soviet Union by seizing the property held by the Kulaks and forcing them to farm it on behalf of the state. The Kulaks resisted, and most were killed or sent to prison. The Soviets tried to conduct farming using loyal party members and the army, but they weren't farmers. And many starved as a result. Which begs the question, would the Bolsheviks have not been better off leaving the Kulaks alone?

You seem to think that taxpayers will simply fall in line and do what you want them to do. But the painfully simple fact is that before you can tax income, income must be earned. And the choice to earn that income is not mandatory. It's a choice. And what happens when the income earners choose to do something else with their time rather than go to work to pay your bills?

#25 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-09 02:17 PM | Reply

"You seem to think that taxpayers will simply fall in line and do what you want them to do."

No, just pay their taxes.
And there are always exceptions, like Wesley Snipes.

#26 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-05-09 02:18 PM | Reply

"But the painfully simple fact is that before you can tax income, income must be earned."

That's not really a problem. We can tax other things, like land, and assets, and transactions.

Income tax isn't the only tax. It's just the only tax you ever acknowledge.

#27 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-05-09 02:21 PM | Reply

Why have a tax code at all. Everyone will just quit their jobs and be homeless rather than pay. Jeff Bezos will shutter Amazon and go fishing if we make them pay taxes,right?

DO YOU REALIZE JUST HOW STUPID THAT SOUNDS?

#28 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2020-05-09 02:24 PM | Reply

"He simply needed a job and the USAF was the best offer."

Yeah.

Because it's really easy to find employment where you can spend the day blitzing across the ground at 420 KTAS while dropping 2000 pound bombs on shipping containers.

It was either that or be a fry cook...

#29 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-09 02:41 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

"No, just pay their taxes."

Yeah...don't get me wrong. If the rich are willing to pay an n% rate, it's not for me to judge.

I just don't think they will do so willingly...and you can't really make them.

#30 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-09 02:48 PM | Reply

Trained killers gotta kill. Maybe you could be a hit man after you retire? But that would mean you have to get your hands dirty.
I just don't think you've got the STUFF FOR THAT.
You'd have to look them them in the eyes before taking them out.

Killing by air is for chickenschitts.

#31 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2020-05-09 02:50 PM | Reply

It was either that or be a fry cook...
#29 | POSTED BY MADBOMBER

FF

#32 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2020-05-09 02:50 PM | Reply

It was either that or be a fry cook...

Must be nice for you to look down on others because you chose to become a disposable commodity and accidentally lived through the experience.

#33 | Posted by ClownShack at 2020-05-09 03:14 PM | Reply

Sales tax is paid by consumers. Those that want to spend in a jurisdiction don't have much choice.
Taxes on fixed assets in a jurisdiction can't be avoided. This would deflate the real estate bubble that makes home ownership uncommon by the young.
A tax on financial transactions would greatly benefit small investors as it would penalize high frequency trading.

Asset taxes would benefit the poor even if they didn't get any direct benefits.

Productivity taxes like income taxes should be kept below 30 percent. Asset taxes, especially financial and intellectual property taxes should be increased to contribute about at least 33% of the budget.

#34 | Posted by bored at 2020-05-09 03:53 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Home ownership more common by the young

#35 | Posted by bored at 2020-05-09 03:54 PM | Reply

I would start by floating Denmark's 25% Value Added Tax and see how Americans responded.

#2 | POSTED BY MADBOMBER AT 2020-05-09 04:11 AM | REPLY | FLAG:

That would be a tax reduction for most Americans in the middle class.

#36 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2020-05-09 05:09 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

You ever been to Denmark? It's nice.

But they don't have Open Carry so I can see why millions of Americans are terrified to visit such an uncivilized place.

#37 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-05-09 06:16 PM | Reply

Everyone should have skin in the game.

I've never understood this mindset.

People in the lower and middle class spend close to 100% of their income. Therefore, a flat tax hurts them disproportionately as it takes, say, 25% of their power to spend on essentials away.

A 25% tax on a billionaire doesn't harm their ability to spend on essentials. Hell, a 65% tax doesn't either.

Flag taxes are regressive. Unless there's no way to fund the program without it, they are needlessly punitive in my opinion.

#38 | Posted by JOE at 2020-05-09 06:25 PM | Reply

Yeah...don't get me wrong. If the rich are willing to pay an n% rate, it's not for me to judge.
I just don't think they will do so willingly...and you can't really make them.
#30 | POSTED BY MADBOMBER

You don't think?
You just said it's not for you to judge.
You don't even realize you're contradicting yourself.
Why is that?

#39 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-05-09 06:28 PM | Reply

Flag taxes are regressive. Unless there's no way to fund the program without it, they are needlessly punitive in my opinion.
#38 | POSTED BY JOE

Most taxes are regressive, and almost all fees are regressive, such as buying a hunting license.
There's a reason MadBomber only ever talks about income tax in America.
It's the only one that's not regressive. That's why he can't stand it. It doesn't treat the rich like they're better than the poor.

#40 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-05-09 06:30 PM | Reply

If everyone has skin in the game the rich ashholes won't find a way to kill the programs to save "their" money. It will shut up the Grover Norquist types because even the poor are paying something toward the costs. It's maybe not ideal but we have to deal with these stupid types in American Life. The best thing is to nueter their idiotic complaints before they get traction.
Social security is a good example of what I mean. Everyone pays in. Even so, the Rick F**ks are still trying to find ways to kill it.
It's a hopeless problem, imagine how much harder they would be attacking SS if it was not universally funded by payroll taxes.
Rich Americans are the worst citizens on Earth unfortunately.

#41 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2020-05-09 07:25 PM | Reply | Funny: 1 | Newsworthy 1

Is that you nick,?

#47 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2020-05-09 10:41 PM | Reply

"Killing by air is for chickenschitts."

Tell that to the guys on the ground getting shot at.

#48 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-10 04:11 AM | Reply

"That would be a tax reduction for most Americans in the middle class."

It would be. But VATs are used to supplement income tax revenues. In Denmark, the lowest income tax rate is just under 40%...variable depending on actual location.

#49 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-10 04:15 AM | Reply

"It doesn't treat the rich like they're better than the poor."

And the reason you can't stand flat tax rates is they treat everyone equally. They don't treat the poor as if they were better than the rich.

#50 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-10 04:19 AM | Reply

Like I said, I think a VAT should be part of the national discussion. But the comments by people like Snoofy and Joe show why the left is likely to be as opposed to a VAT as those on the right. Because VATs don't target specific demographics.

#51 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-10 04:21 AM | Reply

"People in the lower and middle class spend close to 100% of their income. Therefore, a flat tax hurts them disproportionately as it takes, say, 25% of their power to spend on essentials away."

So you think the Danes are incorrect in applying a VAT?

Generally, VATs on essential items, like food, are much lower. In Germany, the VAT is 19%, reduced to 7% for essential items.

#52 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-10 04:24 AM | Reply

"A 25% tax on a billionaire doesn't harm their ability to spend on essentials. Hell, a 65% tax doesn't either."

A 25% tax would be lower than what they pay now.

You can tax them at whatever rate you want...but at a certain point they'll no longer engage in those activities that generate revenue. That's what you lefties seem to miss in regards to income taxes. You seem to start off from a position where the government can impose any rate they like and it won't affect the behavior of those earning the income.

#53 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-10 04:26 AM | Reply

"I've never understood this mindset."

Then it's hard to figure out how you would understand the concept of society or civilizations writ-large.

#54 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-10 04:37 AM | Reply

Income can be gamed very easily if earned in a business.
Capital gain taxes can be eliminated using perpetual trusts.
That is why asset taxes should be implemented. Difficult to avoid and encourages best economic use of assets.

#55 | Posted by bored at 2020-05-10 09:27 AM | Reply

How about we compare Denmark to any American city that has 5 million citizens that are 86% white.

#56 | Posted by jdmeth at 2020-05-10 11:38 AM | Reply

"That is why asset taxes should be implemented. Difficult to avoid and encourages best economic use of assets."

I've never really heard anything like this being floated. How would assets be valued, on market value or something else?

For instance, if you have a house valued at $100,000k and you owe $99,000K, what would you be taxed on?

#57 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-10 12:04 PM | Reply

And let's say you have $100,000 in the bank. Would you be taxed on the returns, or taxed on the amount you have in the bank?

#58 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-10 12:07 PM | Reply

"I've never really heard anything like this being floated."

You claim to have studied economics, because you got an MBA in International Finance, and yet you've never heard of an asset tax?

You even brought up an example: property taxes, which are based on the tax assessors valuation of the home, which is customarily below but related to market value.

What's next, you're gonna tell us you're SCUBA certified but you've never heard of the ocean?

#59 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-05-10 12:45 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

If everyone has skin in the game the rich ashholes won't find a way to kill the programs to save "their" money

If you actually believe rich Americans wouldn't try to evade a 25% tax just because poor people are paying it too, you're hopelessly delusional.

#60 | Posted by JOE at 2020-05-11 09:53 AM | Reply

You can tax them at whatever rate you want...but at a certain point they'll no longer engage in those activities that generate revenue

Well at minimum we can tax them at the rate Denmark taxes its citizens, since they are running a surplus while our government runs deficits in the trillions.

So let's start there. Good enough for me.

#61 | Posted by JOE at 2020-05-11 09:54 AM | Reply

"If you actually believe rich Americans wouldn't try to evade a 25% tax just because poor people are paying it too, you're hopelessly delusional."

VATs are easy to void. You just don't buy stuff.

#62 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-11 12:12 PM | Reply

"Well at minimum we can tax them at the rate Denmark taxes its citizens, since they are running a surplus while our government runs deficits in the trillions. So let's start there. Good enough for me."

Federal Income tax in Denmark is 27.16% for the highest income earners. Municipalities charge and additional 24-ish percent on top of that?

And let's not forget the VAT.

#63 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-05-11 12:17 PM | Reply

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