Elections in Denmark

The polls are promising a victory for Denmarks's ruling Venstre party in today's election. When Venstre won the election in 2001 and became the strongest party of Denmark, I celebrated, after all Venstre was known to be one of the strongest market liberal parties in Europe, and its leader Anders Fogh Rasmussen had written a manifesto with a promising name "From Social State to Minimal State" (Fra socialstat til minimalstat) in 1993 and was suggested to be a libertarian. I was hoping that Denmark would soon become the model country of market liberalism in Europe.

However, instead of the expected market liberal reforms the government formed by Venstre and Konservative Folkeparti (Conservative People's Party) and supported by the populist / nationalist Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People's Party) started by introducing a stricter immigration policy. From a liberal point of view this was at least suspicious, though a part of the measures, like cutting the Social Security benefits, was desirable. But the suspicious reforms didn't seem to stop there.

According to the election news Venstre has since the last election courted the voters of the opposition parties by "improving health care, increasing welfare and boosting the number of government workers." Now, health care can be improved by liberal means, by privatising it, and welfare can be increased by reducing government control which prevents people getting rich. But boosting government workers isn't a liberal way to improve health care or to increase welfare. No wonder, that in its leading article the Danish newspaper Politiken comforted Socialdemokraterne (Social Democrats) that even though they might lose the elections, they can rejoice over the fact that Anders Fogh Rasmussen has become Denmarks's leading social democrat.

In the case that it will win the government, just like the opposition, has promised to freeze the taxes as well as increase education and welfare spending. I wonder how they are planning to finance the new spending. According to Dr. Arthur B. Laffer 's Laffer Curve decreasing tax rates when they already are high (as a typical Nordic country, Denmark has the second highest tax rates in EU) might actually increase the tax revenues. However, if the Danish government is planning only to freeze the tax rate, it is unlikely that the tax revenues would change. Are they going to save money in some other expenses? I don't think so. Or are they perhaps going to copy the policy of George W. Bush and raise a loan (spend today, let your children pay tomorrow)?

Though Venstre probably still is the most market liberal of the Danish political parties, I'mnot sure whether it would be a good thing that it would get a new licence to practise social democrat policy and at the same time be rewarded for failing the expectations of many of its supporters. If I would be a Dane, I would probably this time vote for Radikale Venstre, a social liberal party which has been predicted to increase its support considerably in today's election. At least it advocates more personal, if not economic, liberty, and at a time like this even the Danish market liberals can't be trusted to support economic liberty.


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