Egregious contempt from Danish politicians towards their constituents.

Gaslighting the Danish population is what comes to mind, when hearing politicians attempting to reason why they want to slash a holiday that dates back to 1686 arguing that an extra day at work will finance a stronger defense system.

Denmark is in dire need of manpower, the welfare state is not functioning properly because of a shortage in key positions within the public sector. Here is an idea: Instead of punishing hard-working Danes, how about getting those on welfare into the labor force?

“Immigration to Denmark must not challenge cohesion,” reads one of the headlines in the Ministry of Immigration and Integration’s report “Status on integration” from May last year.

The Danish population has changed significantly over the past 40 years. In 1980 I was five years old – back then approximately 51,000 immigrants and descendants with a non-Western background lived in the country. Today, the number is more than 500,000. This would not be a problem if integration and assimilation had followed, but unfortunately it did not. Who and what is to be blamed for this can be debated endlessly.

Similarly, we can debate whether the extra working day Danes are facing will finances tax breaks or more welfare. The answer will depend on whether your glasses are blue or red toned. The fact is that far too few with a non-Western background living in Denmark are participating in the work force. The fact is also, that hard-working Danes get up every day and contribute their share by going to work. Through their taxes, they pay for those without the same sense of responsibility – people who enjoy living a safe and comfortable life in Denmark with free healthcare, childcare, education, rent etc. – without ever feeling the need to contribute to the welfare state they have been invited into.

How dedicated is Denmark really? After all, they do not reach the goal of the commitment they made decades ago of 2 percent of GDP for their defense system until the year 2030.

The welfare system in Denmark is fantastic. Most people agree on that. My grandmother never missed a chance to tell me what the Social Democrats and the unions did for the life her children and grandchildren were able to live. I am, and will always be, grateful for the opportunities I and other Danes have enjoyed and benefitted from. Danes inside and outside the country’s borders are proud of the Danish model. I am one of them. As an Lecturer at the University of Washington in Seattle, I have lectured classes on how amazing a country Denmark is and how well we take care of our citizens.

But I have also had to teach the students that the welfare model requires a population with values that are alligned; that one must be able to identify with one’s neighbor in order for the system to work. It is easier to get people to accept a high level of taxes if you feel you are paying to someone similar to yourself – in appearance and in culture. A welfare system works when the population is fairly homogeneous. You must believe that when you are able, you have an obligation to contribute to society via being a part of the work force. Similarly, when you are in need, you can rest assured that you have the right to benefit from the welfare system.

Denmark is no longer like that. The model only works if everyone feel like this and if the life cycle of a citizens life is predictable. But the more diverse a population is, the more difficult it is to predict, the more deviations from a homogeneous mass there will be. Therefore, societal changes are necessary for the Danish model to survive. The problem is that politicians cannot say this out loud – for fear of creating division or because they risk being called racists or worse.

That is why they have invented a phrase, they repeat over and over: The reason for slashing a holiday is a need to finance the Danish defense system.

But the argument does not hold up, because Denmark has long ago committed to spending 2 per cent. of GDP – they just never did. Furthermore, this government is far from the first to say that the Danes must sacrifice a holiday in order to finance welfare. The circumstances are the same, now as it was then: lack of tax dollars revenue to fund welfare. The difference between now and then, however, is that previously there was no war in Europe that the Danish politicians could use as an excuse.

So, when Social democrats, Liberals, and the Moderates repeat in one debate after another that taking care of Denmark is their main focus and that the Danes must therefore wholeheartedly pay their share by living up to our international obligations, it is at best hypocrisy if not an outright lie.

How dedicated is Denmark really? After all, they do not reach the goal of the commitment they made decades ago of 2 percent of GDP for their defense system until the year 2030.

It is a “talking point” when politicians repeatedly highlight increased defense spending as the reason for the extra working day. And it is disrespectful and insulting to the Danes not to tell the truth.

Denmark has changed from when previous generations created our fantastic welfare system. Unfortunately, some would rather reap the benefits than contribute to the society they are a part of. As long as no one has the guts to say this out loud, the utility worker, the caregiver, and other working groups will slave away every day, while other groups sit back while sipping mint tea in stead of feeling obligated to take part in the community that takes such good care of them.


Tror politikerne, danskerne er idioter, når de siger, store bededag skal finansiere mere forsvar?

Danmark mangler arbejdskraft. Så hvad med at få dem, der ikke yder, ud på arbejdsmarkedet i stedet for at straffe hårdtarbejdende danskere?

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