Saturday, June 07, 2008

European Socialism is just what we need

I was subbing for Lars yesterday, and had an interview with Svend Auken, who was in town to teach Portlanders all about the wonders of European Socialism.

Auken is a co-author of the Kyoto Treaty, and was Denmark's Minister of the Environment some time ago. Yesterday he spoke to the big planning confab yesterday at the Oregon Convention Center, about how to move toward renewable energy, sustainability, how to prevent sprawl, and how to accomplish all the other tenets of central planning utopia.

Auken was very nice, but seemed somewhat taken aback when I pushed back on some of his statements. Denmark taxes the holy hell out of energy and its use, and then they use the tax funds to subsidize all the alternative energy sources. Sound familiar?

What is funny is that he (like Oregon's economically illiterate liberals and The Funny Paper editors) think it makes sense to do this. In Denmark, there is an excise tax on new cars of more thanbn 100%! Their gasoline costs almost $8 a gallon, and their electricity is more than three times what we pay in Portland.

THAT is the future that Portland planners presented yesterday as worthy of copying, as Auken was the keynote in their conference where they were discussing the next soviet-style 5 year plan.

The funniest part of the interview was when I asked Auken about the fact that Denmark aggressively explored for and drilled for oil offshore in the North Sea, as a way to achieve energy independence. I said "you are in town to tell us how Denmark got off foreign oil. Would you propose that the U.S. drill offshore to take advantage of our known reserves?"

"Uh well, uh, ahem, well, I don't want to insert myself into decisions that are debated here," is basically what he said. "But wait - aren't you here because Denmark is a model for us to copy?"

He wasn't going to stress that particular aspect of the Danish miracle, apparently.

The Funny Paper, for its part, editorialized on Friday what a great thing European socialism is:

"Denmark does have one of the world's highest tax rates. It devotes about half of its gross domestic product to public expenditures. But before you say "ouch," remember that the Danes get medical care, free education through graduate school and customized retraining whenever they are laid off or decide to change jobs. At any given moment, about 47 percent of all Danes are engaged in some kind of learning program. "

Wow. HALF of GDP goes to the government. But they have a GREAT nanny state, so it is absolutely worth it!

4 comments:

Troutdale Councilor Canfield said...

Rob, does KXL put streaming audio of previous shows on its website? It would be great to listen to the interview.

MAX Redline said...

"Uh well, uh, ahem, well, I don't want to insert myself into decisions that are debated here,"

Killer. The whole idea for his presence was precisely to bolster the local "planners" at the expense of everyone else.

Wish I'd been able to hear it!

Rob Kremer said...

I think I can get it posted as a podcast on Lars' web site. I'll let you know.

Jim Karklock said...

Aren't a lot of us paying close to 50% here? Especially when you add up city, county, state, fed & SS?

Maybe we should be paying 25% since we aren’t getting the freebies they get.

Thanks
JK