McDonald’s Workers in Denmark Pity Us
In his New York Times column, Nicholas Kristof describes the sort of world I’d always hoped we’d leave to our kids when we die. I’m sad that the coronavirus pandemic has revealed more clearly than ever that the United States is not that world, and unlikely to ever be.
” … I’d be safer if I still were in Denmark: It has had almost twice as much testing per capita as the United States and fewer than half as many deaths per capita.
“Put it this way: More than 35,000 Americans have already died in part because the United States could not manage the pandemic as deftly as Denmark.
“Denmark lowered new infections so successfully that last month it reopened elementary schools and day care centers as well as barber shops and physical therapy centers. Malls and shops will be allowed to reopen on Monday, and restaurants and cafes a week later.
“Moreover, Danes kept their jobs. The trauma of massive numbers of people losing jobs and health insurance, of long lines at food banks — that is the American experience, but it’s not what’s happening in Denmark. America’s unemployment rate last month was 14.7 percent, but Denmark’s is hovering in the range of 4 percent to 5 percent.”
Denmark also structured its bailouts so that corporations would continue to be good citizens, and serve the interests of the community as a whole:
“Our aim was that businesses wouldn’t fire workers,” Labor Minister Peter Hummelgaard told me. Denmark’s approach is simple: Along with some other European countries, it paid companies to keep employees on the payroll, reimbursing up to 90 percent of wages of workers who otherwise would have been laid off.
Denmark also helped hard-hit companies pay fixed costs like rent — on the condition that they suspend dividends, don’t buy back stock and don’t use foreign havens to evade taxes.
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“McDonald’s Workers in Denmark Pity Us“