The National Post | Financial Post
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — This is what it’s like to live in Denmark, a nation with a narrower wealth gap than almost anywhere else: You’ve been jobless for more than a year. You have no university degree, no advanced skills. You have to pay a mortgage. And your husband is nearing retirement.
You aren’t worried.
If you’re 51-year-old Lotte Geleff, who lost her job as an office clerk in January 2013, you know you’ll receive an unemployment benefit of 10,500 kroner (US$1,902) a month after taxes for up to two years. You’re part of a national system of free health care and education for everyone, job training, subsidized child care, a generous pension system and fuel subsidies and rent allowances for the elderly.
And high taxes.
Denmark’s sturdy social safety net helps explain why its wealth gap — the disparity between the richest citizens and everyone else — is second-smallest among the world’s 34 most developed economies, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, surpassed only by the much smaller economy of Slovenia.