Looks like John Thune took to the Senate floor yesterday to warn that the House health care bill’s surtax — a measure that would only effect 1.3 percent of the population — would lead to “most Americans and most small businesses” paying “fifty cents of every dollar in taxes.”
Pat Garofalo observes that this is all kinds of wrong. The highest-tax country in the world at the moment seems to be Denmark, where government revenue equals 50 percent of GDP. Even there if we assume the tax code is even a little bit progressive, most people will be paying less than 50 percent of their income in taxes.
Meanwhile, Denmark is also a great place! It’s one of the richest countries on earth, and thanks to its much more egalitarian distribution of wealth and income, median living standards are higher than in the United States. Indeed, notwithstanding its high taxes Denmark always rates high on right-wing metrics of “economic freedom” as well as on things like the UN’s Human Development Index. The Danes also happen to be the happiest people on earth and are operating what’s probably the most ecologically sustainable of all the developed economies. I wouldn’t say they owe it all to their high tax rates, but certainly the fact that Danes are willing to to fund public services and public infrastructure at adequate levels is helping them.