Why are the Danes so contented? Could it be all that Havarti and herring? The satisfaction of knowing that their ancestors plundered and pillaged the entire North Atlantic? No. According to Behar, the Danes wear the smile of socialism.
“The reason that they’re so happy is because they don’t worry about health care,” she explained. “They don’t worry about sending their kids to college because everything’s paid for.”
It appears Behar was referring to the 2008 World Values Survey that asked 350,000 citizens of 97 different countries two questions:
1. Taking all things together, would you say you are very happy, rather happy, not very happy, or not at all happy?
2. All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?
While it’s true that Denmark was ranked the happiest country in the world, Behar’s premise – that universal health care and “free” tuition put a spring in the Danish step – is false.
For example, Ukraine, which also has universal health care, barely scraped by at number 95. Other countries with universal health care include: Bulgaria, ranked 92; Georgia, ranked 91; Russia, ranked 89; Romania, ranked 88.
What about “free” college? First off, it’s not free. The Danes pay the highest taxes in the world at 48.4%. Secondly, 12 of the 27 E.U. countries have no tuition fees, so it’s not that unique. Those tuition-free countries include: Poland, ranked 52; the Czech Republic, ranked 53; and Slovakia, ranked 75.
What’s more, Denmark’s Scandinavian neighbors, Finland, Norway and Sweden boast both “free” college tuition and universal healthcare. Yet their happiness rankings are 25, 19 and 14, respectively.
If Joy had read the actual study, she would have discovered that “the most important determinant of happiness is the extent to which people have free choice in how to live their lives.” Not universal health care and “free” college.