The Danes have shown the world what a few decades of sensible laws can do. My host family, in their comfortable suburban townhouse, enjoys the 21st Century Good Life. This includes of course, the family car, internet, cell connections, shiny appliances of all sorts, Christmas holiday spent at a country home—and also, universal healthcare, a year’s paid maternity leave, six weeks of paid vacation, great public transportation, and other benefits and services for working people that have been driven outside the imagination of the American dream.
We have a three and a half-month old baby, and my wife's employer doesn't cover her health benefits after 12/31, so we have to pay two months of painfully high health insurance premiums -- on top of our new baby costs -- for the next 2 months.
In this economy, it's brutal.
We won't be buying much until Suzanne's employer coverage of our benefits kicks back in. We're feeling, firsthand, how America still needs to fix the problem of our exorbitant health insurance costs, not to mention giving mothers longer maternity leaves, as they get in Europe. If we didn't have to spend this money on health insurance premiums for the next two months, we'd be saving some, and spending some on ski trips, some new things we need for the house, and probably some new clothing (in my case, stuff that my wife tells me I really need to replace). But instead of these retailers getting our money, it's going to the health insurance company.
Good for the Danes for showing the world a thing or two about how to live well at the same time as they slash their carbon footprint.
Living on Earth reports on the Happiness of the Danes>>