Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Endangered Species

 Our President, our liberal congressional leaders, the people in the liberal press corp have never lived in Europe. They have no idea under what conditions the people in Europe live, how they are taxed, how they get health services, nor how effective their educational system is….. Neither the liberal nor conservative electorate has any experiential knowledge… So as our government moves this country slowly but surely towards Europe’s socialist forms of democracies we need to have a better idea of what awaits us at the end of the Obama version of “Changing America.”

Below is an article from Jan Gindrup.  This is must read article because of the richness of the details and the depth of Jan’s experience working for the Danish government.  Mr. Gindrup received his bachelor's degree and served his country well spending the next 21 years as a police officer in Denmark. After retiring from the police force, Jan served as a security consultant to a large Danish energy company…

It’s a long article full of things we need to know about socialist democracies. Jan is reporting on Denmark but could be reporting the same on all of the countries in the European Union.  (In some ways he is reporting about us.)

The Grass Is Always Greener on the Other Side

By Jan Gindrup

Have you ever thought of life being better somewhere else?

It is often said that the grass is greener on the other side. Could it be that sometimes one's own grass just has grown so high that one can't judge the conditions over there?
On the other hand, most people, especially Americans, know that Denmark is home to the happiest people in the world and that it is a wonderful fairytale country with peace and the best social welfare system ever. The movie Hans Christian Andersen with Danny Kaye probably reinforced that impression. Never mind that no one knows where Denmark is.

Well, here's a chance to hear from the happiest people on earth and their wonderful little country.
How Do You Keep People Happy?

How do you keep a population happy? You do it the same way that you keep a dog happy. You provide basic necessities, education, a justice system and entertainment to keep people from spending too much time thinking, in order to keep them from looking outside the fence for new masters. In time, people will start telling each other that they are happy.

What we can readily do without shame is happily brag about being the most taxed and perhaps also most regulated country in the world.

It has jokingly been said that North Korea and Cuba envy Denmark for being the only place where socialism has been successfully implanted without anybody noticing.

We became accustomed to a plethora of state benefits ranging from Medicare to art. Social welfare has been a boon for a large segment of the population. In fact, a few years ago it was normal that after ten years on welfare, people were automatically transferred to a permanent disabled pension at a young age. We have experienced massive immigration by people from the Middle East during the last thirty years, something that has dramatically changed the fabric of our society.

There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

Yes, it true: all Danes enjoy six weeks of paid vacation and, for the time being, paid retirement pension. But these benefits are slowly vanishing.

To finance this overwhelming and still growing public sector, the Danish government keeps inventing new taxes with more and more creative names, like "amenity value tax." The creative Danish tax system - or "how to tax the same service more than once without people noticing" - is big business. It all started with Medicare.

We have roughly 5.5 million inhabitants, including citizens and noncitizen residents. The Danish workforce consists of 3 million people, of which 1 million are public employees. That means that 2 million people in the private sector support 3.5 million other people with their taxes, plus their own use of the public sector.

One example of how the state gets money is by raising taxes on real estate lots. I own an empty half-acre lot in the middle of nowhere, for which I used to pay $180 a year in "dirt tax" (tax for owning the land). I then had the lot subdivided into three lots, each about one-sixth of an acre - still empty land, no rights, utilities nor other improvements. For this, I am now paying $1,250 per lot, or $3,750 per year. This amounts to a tax hike of approximately 2,100 %! When I complained, I received a letter informing me that I could expect an answer in eighteen months. I am still waiting.

The state decides every year what your house and lot is worth. It's usually not far from the market value. First we pay "lot-due tax." In our case, it runs around $7,000 a year. On top of that, we pay something called "rental-value tax of your own property." The state thinks that as a homeowner, you are better off than a person who rents his home. Therefore, it decided that homeowners should pay rent to the state for living in their own home. This also goes if you own a home outside of Denmark.

Contrary to common belief worldwide, our hospitals are not impressive. A few years ago, I cut an artery in one arm and, knowing that the ambulance doesn't always come when called, I rushed in myself. It's not unusual to get an answering machine, to be asked to call another number or to wait for a very long time for the ambulance.

At the hospital, I was met by Dr. Muhammad, the doctor in charge of the emergency room. His Danish was so bad that no one understood him, nor did he understand us. After pulling my artery for 20 minutes with forceps (yes, it hurts, in case you are wondering) and not listening to me or the nurses' requests for anesthesia, he decided to call a Danish doctor. The Danish doctor's first question upon arrival was why I wasn't sedated. He was also curious as why Dr. Muhammad hadn't seen fit to wear gloves. After "treating" me, Dr. Muhammad spent 20 minutes trying to reset a young carpenter's dislocated shoulder. While he was unable to reset the shoulder, he was successful in getting the poor man to cry like a baby. After that fiasco, he left the room burping loudly.

As we left, an old, senile man was walking around confused in the hallway, wearing nothing more than underwear and wetting himself. My wife told this to seven nurses in the intake office, only to be asked if she couldn't take care of the old man!

Next day, I called the hospital to report my experience with its emergency room. I was informed the hospital had already placed Dr. Muhammad on probation. Nevertheless, he was left in charge of a large emergency room.

(Well, we have all been wondering where our new health care system will find all the new doctors it will need…. We will get them from the same places Denmark got theirs –India – Mideast -------?)

Couples in old-age homes risk separation to different retirement homes after 50 years of marriage. It is considered normal to offer old people a bath every seven to ten days, and it is right now being discussed to take away their daily lemonade from them.
We never see our paycheck, as it goes through a public account called "Easy-ID." This means that anything you owe the public is automatically withheld from your account before you get it.

If you pull out more than $1,780 from your own bank account, the teller may ask you why, and if not satisfied, the bank clerk will report you to the Danish IRS; the same goes for any "suspicious" activities in your account. Should you get the stupid notion of opening a bank account outside Denmark, don't use a credit card. If a person residing in Denmark takes out money from a foreign account, it is reported to the IRS.
So while we may not have obvious corruption in the traditional sense in Denmark, job perks and benefits from "good old boy" network access are the standard.

Steaks cost up to US$70 per kilo, a bottle of liquor runs over $26, plus there's a 25% VAT on everything. There is a 180% tax on cars, which of course also is reflected in equally expensive insurance rates. We have a graduated registration tax scheme on cars. Normal vehicles have white plates and are subject to a 180% sales tax; yellow plates are two-seated, company-cargo cars, where the backseats are permanently removed and which are in turn subject to less tax; and yellow/white for cargo cars with VAT paid and thus allowed to be used privately. If you drive a white-plated company car, you are heavily taxed if using it privately. This does not apply for cars driven by chauffeurs, as they are tax-free. All ministers have chauffeurs.

Almost all transactions in Denmark have numerous hidden taxes. To give an example, let me try to analyze an electricity bill for you. We pay around $0.35 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), which is about $1,400 a year for a normal home. The basic price is roughly $0.078 per kWh, but after adding energy tax, appendix tax, distribution tax, energy saving (CO2) tax, public duties, transport of electricity, actual consumption and subscription, and 25% VAT, we end up with $0.35!
Gasoline is now at US$9.60 per gallon and still rising. By far the largest part of that price is tax.

And it's like that with almost everything in Denmark.

A Toyota Hilux pickup, which is similar to a Tacoma but has only four cylinders, is a two-seated car on yellow plates. You have the option not to pay VAT, but then you can't drive it privately. If you do and get caught, you have to pay full (white-plate) registration and a fine of the same amount. This Hilux, incidentally, costs $1,600 a year in road taxes.

A guy just got caught in a Ferrari on temporary plates. He was charged for private driving and got a combined ticket and registration tax for $1,070,000 PLUS six months in jail. It's considered tax evasion, and tax evasion is punished more severely here than violence. In normal law, the police have to prove you guilty. With the IRS, you have to prove your innocence. The IRS can conduct a search on your private property without a warrant.

A recent legislative proposal is that the buyer of a service from a craftsman can be held responsible if the craftsman fails to pay tax. That means that the buyer has to make sure that the service provider pays the tax!

For the sake of illustration, the latest survey of estimated prices for craftsmen in Denmark shows that companies charge the following hourly rates:
Carpenters and bricklayers
Floor Sander
To compare, a policeman or nurse makes roughly $33 an hour - before taxes.
It will be illegal to pay a craftsman in cash on transactions exceeding US$1,780. Transactions exceeding that have to be done through bank transfer, so the Revenue Ministry can track in detail what you do with your money.
You are not allowed to carry more than $13,600 on you (included valuables) anywhere in Europe, unless you have declared them to the authorities.
By now you get the picture of what it takes to run a "paradise."

But don't worry if you feel like your country is heading the same way, your personal freedom slipping away, your rights disappearing and your money being taken. You hardly notice it, and slowly, day by day, you will become accustomed to it.

Jan Gindrup

My response in reading this article in Casey new letter was to say this craziness could never happen here. After a few cups of coffee while staring out the window I realized everything the government needs to make this next leap into the European way of government and life is already in place. Just look at all the add-ons on your phone bill, the social programs that are up and running, and Obamacare just around the corner. (Note: There is a link at the end of the article to an interesting tidbit on Medicare Advantage for ones who are on it or whose parents are on it.)

Government controls the money supply, they have control over businesses through regulations, and they take the money we earn. And they now have control over health services, and multimillions of people on social programs dependent on them for their day to day living.

What else do the liberals need to finally bring America to the European level of government control? 1) They need to reelect Obama for another four years; 2) they need to keep control of the Senate for another four years. Given the current poll numbers they maybe well on their way.

It is my belief that it is only the Tea Party that stands between the American way of life and the European way of life. A government for and by the people or a people for and by the government is our choice. No matter how we read our last fifty year history we have been moving in this socialist direction towards the latter.

Maybe soon someone will jokingly say, “America is another country where socialism has been successfully implanted without anybody noticing.”

How did we get here? Is there some innate need in humans to be taken care of? Does our present population want to govern themselves through elected representatives?  Tea party folks seem to want to but do we reflect the population as a whole?

We are at a crossroad. A wrong turn here/now will take us to Europe and like Europe once there we cannot get back. For sure, after one generation our grandchildren will have forgotten the American way of life and what that life uniquely offered.

We need a new president and eight more conservative senators. How can we get them? The conservative candidates will need lots of money and lots of our time. I just sent Josh Mandel (in Ohio) some money and he needs lots more because he is well behind in the polls.  Crews need money and our support. That is just two and there are more candidates that will need our help.

Mississippi Tea Party just sent out a list of six candidates running for the senate and most on the list is doing well in the polls.

Florida US Senate Election 2012 – Must Win
 Bill Nelson – Democrat
Challenger: Connie Mack IV, U.S. Representative – Republican

North Dakota US Senate Election 2012 – Must Win
Democratic candidate:
 Heidi Heitkamp
Republican candidate: Rick Berg, U.S. Representative

Virginia US Senate Election 2012 – Must Win
Democratic candidate:
 Tim Kaine
Republican candidate: George Allen – Former Senator

Massachusetts US Senate Election 2012 – Must Hold
 Scott Brown – Republican
Challenger: Elizabeth Warren – Democrat

Montana US Senate Election 2012 – Must Win
 Jon Tester Democrat
Challenger: Denny Rehberg, U.S. representative – Republican, former lieutenant governor, and former state representative

Nevada US Senate Election 2012 – Must Hold
 Dean Heller – Republican
Challenger: Shelley Berkley, U.S. Representative – Democrat

Wisconsin US Senate Election 2012 – Must Win
Democratic candidate:
 Tammy Baldwin
Republican candidate: Tommy Thompson – former governor, and former Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Missouri US Senate Election 2012 – Must Win
 Claire McCaskill – Democrat
The GOP primary will take place on August 7th. There are three Republicans vying to challenge McCaskill. Running are former state treasurer and state senator, Sarah Steelman, U.S. Representative Todd Akin, and businessman John Brunner. 

Gindrup's article is a warning hopefully to our citizens…

My mind wants to believe that socialism could never happen in America… Growing up when I did has left me with a naïve belief about government and the elite political class that has been running the country.

We are in danger and the conservative American is an endangered species.  

126 days, 0 hours, and 11 minutes till the November voting begins.



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