Ambassador, Sanders discuss Danish system

By:  Chris Mays

BRATTLEBORO -- Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vt-I, invited the Danish Ambassador Peter Taksoe-Jensen to speak about what the United States could learn from Taksoe-Jensen's country, which has universal health care as well as a unique education system.

"I believe there's an enormous amount we can learn from them," said Sanders, who credited Denmark's government with achieving extraordinary accomplishments towards human dignity and social welfare.

On May 18, Sanders and Taksoe-Jensen discussed Denmark's approach to health care, education and environmental protection at the Brattleboro Museum. It was one of three Town Hall meetings that Sanders arranged. There was not an empty seat in the house.

Taksoe-Jensen wanted to make it clear that he was discussing how the Danish society is organized, not that the United States should just copy it and everything will work out.

"We decided many years ago to start working on the Danish welfare state," he said.

The tax rate is very high in Denmark, and Taksoe-Jensen said it is difficult for a person to become "filthy rich" there.

The top bracket or richest people pay an average of about 63 percent off their income, while the average resident pays approximately 40 percent of their income. There is also a 25 percent sales tax on all goods.

The tax revenue helps to fuel the universal health care system in Denmark. 

"From the birth until the grave, we have free health care for all," said Taksoe-Jensen. "You don't have to pay for anything when it comes to normal health care."

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