Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's All About The Women


It’s been four days since my last blog. For me, that’s a long time. The simple fact is that I’ve had nothing to say. It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally a fog descends over me. For two or three days at a time, everything seems heavy, my movements become leaden. It becomes a colossal effort to think critically. I never know when such days will come, and they leave me as abruptly as they arrive. This morning, for example, life is lighter.

It occurs to me that those of you fond of psychoanalysis will have a field day with that paragraph.

So, this morning I have learned that Denmark has been declared the “happiest nation on earth”, by some United Nations outfit who arbitrarily declared itself the judge of such things. Why are the Danes so happy? Apparently, it’s all about the women.

In Denmark, women are fully represented in government. They even have a female Prime Minister. Their most popular TV show also features a female Prime Minister. Women in Denmark contribute a much higher percentage of household income than women in the U.S. When a women has a baby, she is given 52 weeks of paid maternity leave, then when she does go back to work, her child gets free day care. The Danes have free health care, and they use the heck out of it, the average Dane consulting with his or her primary care physician 7 times a year. So, it would seem that the Danes are happy because they enjoy cradle to grave Socialism. No mention is made in this “Happiness Survey” as to whether the Danes are pursuing this happiness or having it presented to them by enlightened government programs, but the suggestion is very clear that it is the latter. No mention was made of what kind of tax burden is borne by the happy Danes, so I had to do a little research. The Danes pay income taxes at a top rate of 56%. In addition, there is a VAT tax on all purchases which amounts to a 25% sales tax. This year, a new tax was added on fatty foods that would make Michael Bloomberg proud. By comparison, our top tax rate is 39.4%, and our sales taxes vary by state by average around 5%. The American idea has always been, keep more of your earnings, go out there and pursue your own happiness wherever you can find it. The Danes philosophy seems to be, give us your money and we’ll provide your happiness.

Of course, the happy Danes do have a couple of peculiar advantages over us melancholy Americans. First, they aren’t expected to be the policemen of the world. They don’t have a military budget that chews up 25% of their GDP. Secondly, Denmark has no aggrieved minority; they don’t have to wrestle with a melting pot of nationalities, those teeming masses yearning to be free, a melting pot that hasn’t melted much over the last 30 years. So, there’s that.

But, give the Danes their due. They have learned something as a nation that our grandmothers and mothers, wives and sisters have been telling us for years. When momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.