Why Fox Business' comparison of Denmark and Venezuela is built on fallacy
The claims were made by Trish Regan, a host on the cable news channel, which is owned by the Fox News Group.
The clip, which has currently been seen over 1.6 million times on Facebook, begins with images of anti-government demonstrations in Venezuela.
âItâs a really horrible scene. No food, no healthcare, no jobs. Lots of violence, lots of looting, lots of corruption. This is what socialism looks like in Venezuela, and you know what, itâs getting worse,â the presenter says at the beginning of the monologue.
âBut you know what? Democrats say âweâre not talking about Venezuelaâ when they talk about socialism, they say âweâre talking about Denmark!â,â Regan goes on to say, before continuing, âas Shakespeare said, âthereâs something rotten in Denmarkâ.â
That is a misquote of Shakespeare, but it is far from the only misleading element of Reganâs report.
âDenmarkâs freebies are anything but free,â the cable news host says before claiming the Scandinavian countryâs âtop federal tax rate [sic.]â is 56 percent.
âIn other words, everyone in Denmark is working for the government!â Regan then asserts.
While taxes in the Scandinavian country were last year reported to be the highest of any developed country by the OECDâs economic thinktank, they are not as high as reported by Fox Business.
When income taxes, social security contributions, taxes on property, goods and services were all added together, they accounted for 45.9 percent of Denmark's overall earnings in 2016 â" the same as the proportion recorded in 2015, but below the peak of 48.6 percent reached in 2014.
Danish Minister of Finance Kristian Jensen offered his response to the Reganâs claims via Twitter on Monday.
âSo Danes donât wa nts [sic.] to work? 11 places better than US in OECD statistics! We are working much more than Americans and at the same time ranking as the worldâs best in Work-Life-Balance. You should come to Denmark if you dare be confronted with facts,â Jensen tweeted at the Fox host.
Regan also declares in her Venezuela comparison that only three of Denmarkâs 98 municipalities had employment levels over 50 percent in 2013.
âAnd no-one wants to work,â she says without offering any evidence to support that claim.
According to Statistics Denmark, the national employment rate in 2013 was just under 67 percent for people in Denmark between the ages of 16 and 67. It has since increased to 70.1 percent for people of wage-earning age.
That compares to American employment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of 58.7 percent in mid-2013, and 60.5 percent according to latest numbers, Danish news agency Ritzau reports.
READ ALSO: Danish unemployment at lowest level since 2009: stats
Next in Reganâs sights is Denmarkâs state student grant, Statens UddannelsesstÃ¸tte (SU), which partially covers living costs for people in full-time higher education.
âSchoolâs free. Universityâs free, thatâs lovely. They have a programme there, itâs supposed to take you five years. But you see, not only is school free, they actually pay you, basically 990 dollars a month to go to school â" not bad, eh? Well, you know what happens then? Nobody graduates from school, they just stay in school, longer and longer and longer,â the host says to camera.
A March 2017 analysis by Statistics Denmark shows a significant fall in the average length of time spent in higher education by Danes in recent years. The average time to complete a Masterâs degree programme in Denmark fell by three months between 2012 and 2016, while Bachelorâs degree programmes fell slightly to an average duration of just over 36 months â" or three years â" from start to finish.
That reflects policies by both the current centre-right government and its Social Democrat-led predecessor to significantly reduce the amount of time young people spend in higher education, in part by introducing stricter rules on SU.
Regan also claims in the Fox Business report that âone person who studied Denmarkâ said âall the kids graduating from school in Denmark, they wanna start cupcake cafÃ©s.â
According to a March 2018 government report, 2015 figures show just under 90 percent of eligible people holding Masterâs degrees were in employment by their second year following graduation, while Denmark has the eighth-highest employment rate of all OECD member countries for people aged 25-64 with Masterâs degrees.
Since 1985, employment levels of people with Masterâs degrees have been equal or higher to the overall national employment lev els, according to the same report.
âDenmark, like Venezuela, has stripped people of their opportunities,â the Fox Business host concludes.
Factual inaccuracies aside, the aim of Reganâs monologue seems to be to prove that the social welfare model on which Denmark is governed makes it a âsocialistâ country with a system comparable to Venezuela, rather than the market economy it is in reality.
That misunderstanding has long since been addressed â" and dismissed â" by Prime Minister Lars LÃ¸kke Rasmussen.
READ ALSO: Danish PM in US: Denmark is not socialistSource: Google News Denmark | Netizen 24 Denmark