Monday, September 28, 2009
Pimp My Green Ride
I have returned from Copenhagen with, yet another, cold. I hate being sick. Another perfectly valid reason for me to abhor public transportation. It's making me sick. The four white blood cells I have are in constant overdrive. I must be making up for last year when I did not get sick all year, unheard of for me.
My first impression of Copenhagen was the cleanliness of the city. It was remarkably clean. It was very green and had a lot of wide open space. I liked that. It also had a great mix of old and new, which I also like. So, I was digging it. It was almost like some European style Phoenix replete with old buildings and sterility.
The streets were calm and aside from the city center pretty quiet. Almost a little unsettling. Stockholm on valium and by default much cleaner. My daughter thought the city had a creepy vibe and I somewhat agree. It had the sense of extreme orderliness common to many German cities. Similarly too, it was much lighter on the commerce, advertising and trade.
That is something I think Americans THINK they would like but when faced with a life without it find out they do not. They miss the constant jockeying for the dollars in their pockets. I know I did. Thankfully Stockholm is not like that. Despite the punitive taxes, the city is always working.
As usual, I couldn't leave well enough alone, I had to dig a little deeper. Well, in this case I didn't have too dig too hard or too far. I really just had to purchase something. Ha!! Holy shit! Someone please, put me on the train back to Stockholm where things are cheap. Yeah, that is what I said. Everything was two times as costly. No joke.
It is all a little unnerving. There really is no end to the levels of taxation these people are 1. capable of and 2. capable of convincing others to pay. Personally, I do not care if Danes want to pay 110% taxes to the state. If it works for you Denmark; great, have at it. My fear is--we actually have idiots who, through, I don't know, fear of getting a passport and relocating, feel the need to try and inflict this type of society on us.
When I got home, I had to research a little. I had to know just what the median income was in a place where a can of coke is $3 at the 7/11 and a casual dinner for a family of four is 5x that of the same dinner in the United States. According to my favorite source of unbiased information, the New York Times, Denmark has a 63 percent marginal tax rate paid by top income earners in Denmark. (anyone making more than 360,000 Danish kroner, or about $70,000). The good or bad news, depending on how you look at it, was the median income was relatively high, about $65,000 a year. Jeez, must be a lot of "rich" Danes paying that 63% tax rate.
The New York Times was also quick to tell me that such effective income redistribution has made Denmark the most egalitarian society on the planet ---that wealth is more evenly spread than anywhere else. Yeah, everyone is equal alright. The productive are equally getting the hell out. One thousand skilled workers flee Denmark each year for greener pastures.
Maybe not truly greener. Copenhagen is something of the mecca to the "green" (watermelon) movement. Green propaganda is throughout the city. Cars are outnumbered by bikes. So, greener may be hard to find.
Bike stands abound and giant hordes of bikers ride purposely through the streets. It must be hard to date when the bicycle is your main mode of transportation. Do you meet out by the bike stand? I don't particularly have anything against bikes. I like bikes. I really do not care for lemmings though. Lemmings I have a problem with. For some strange reason I just couldn't shake the visual of the bikers all following each other off a cliff.
Posted by kmbr at 3:34 AM