As Denmark turns right, slightly, critics insist that they are turning ideological and not helping their society.
As Denmark turns right, politically, people want to know why they are doing so when the country is not yet bankrupt. Bloomberg reports,
When a European government raises the pension age and makes cuts to welfare programs, it’s usually because of dire finances. In Denmark’s case, it’s because of ideology.
Greece, Italy and other highly-indebted countries are regularly urged by officials in Brussels to find ways of reducing public spending or making their labor markets more efficient. But of Denmark, the European Union’s commission said in its most recent report: Competitiveness indicators “don’t point to major challenges;” employment has “remained strong;” and the “risks to Denmark’s fiscal sustainability are low in the short, medium and long term.”
So why is the Scandinavian nation finding it necessary to make cuts to its fabled welfare programs? Driving the new government’s push is a desire to finance a major round of income tax cuts.
“We want to promote a society in which it is easier to support yourself and your family before you hand over a large share of your income to fund the costs of society,” the government of Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen wrote in its manifesto.
Is this so surprising?
“Greece, Italy, and other highly-indebted countries” are too far gone to be saved. Officials should have been screaming about these issues a decade earlier or more. Everyone says, in such circumstances, that “it is not time to panic yet.” But you have to panic earlier or it is too late.
Perhaps the Danes have seen what is happening in Greece and realized they don’t want to wait around until they’re in danger. They want to change course now!
The complaint that Denmark turns right for ideological reasons also misunderstands the nature of human reality. The only reasons that a country will change in an economically productive way are ideological reasons. No matter how bad the economy gets, groups that believe in government welfare will continue to lobby to get themselves free money. Again, Greece and Italy demonstrate that an economic crisis does nothing to convince voters to give up the behavior that led to the crisis. In the United States, after debt and artificially low interest rates led to the financial crisis, politicians and economists call for more debt and lower interest rates to deal with the crisis.
The reason the ruling party in Denmark is swerving right is because voters are already waking up. Recently a new party formed that was right of the “far right” party.
For more than two decades, the Danish People’s Party ran on an unapologetically anti-immigration, populist platform, pushing Danish politics to the right by rejecting multiculturalism and opposing the transfer of sovereignty to Brussels.
Today, the DPP faces its own challenge from the right.
Nye Borgerlige, or “The New Right,” led by 41-year-old Pernille Vermund, pursues a libertarian economic agenda and wants even stricter controls on migrants in a country that already has some of the most stringent immigration laws in Western Europe.
Vermund, a trained architect, has called for a ban on headscarves in schools and public institutions. Her party wants asylum to be given only to refugees coming directly from the U.N. refugee agency’s resettlement scheme and those with “a job in hand,” and supports limiting Danish citizenship to people who “contribute positively” to society.
The Trump revolution is a truly international movement.