CNN has an excellent article on how Denmark doesn't recognize Bernie Sanders' view of socialism. Chris Moody of CNN notes that "[a]t a presidential debate hosted by CNN in October, Sanders brought up Denmark and the surrounding Scandinavian states when asked to describe what "democratic socialism" means to him. Sanders said "I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn what they have accomplished for their working people."
Sanders touted free health care, universal access to child care, free college tuition in which students receive a paycheck from the government while enrolled. And his litany of lists of "free" things Danes get was almost as endless as his utopian vision of a democratic socialist state.
But what Sanders failed to mention is that Danes pay some of the highest taxes in the world, including a 25% tax on all good and services, a top marginal tax rate near 60% of all income earned, compared to a top tax rate in the U.S. slightly less than 40%.
The Danish model, however, contradicts many of Sanders' ideological positions. Denmark is a small country heavily reliant on free trade, imposing minimal tariffs on foreign goods. Business is lightly regulated, contrary to heavily-regulated American businesses. And the Danish corporate tax rate is much lower than the U.S. corporate tax, one of the highest in the entire world.
Over time, however, the Danes have recognized the costs of their socialist policies and are electing right-of-center governments. These new leaders are instituting reforms that put tighter restrictions on access to the Danish social safety net.
And Denmark is geographically small and demographically homogenous. Sanders' ideas might work in Utah, or Massachusetts, but they're highly unlikely to succeed in a nation as geographically large and demographically diverse as the United States. We already see the social implications of socialism in our society - the break up of families, the out-of-control costs despite high taxes - but none of that reality will slow down the fantasies of socialists and Marxists who still pine for control over every aspect of American life. Denmark is a poor example for Sanders' and his supporters. But then reality isn't where they live.