Denmark turns out to be the best country in the world for a poor kid to grow up in — not because they’re more likely to get a middle class job but because their government helps them more than anybody else’s does. Denmark’s top marginal tax rate is 60 percent, and it applies to all income over 1.2 times the national average – and Denmark redistributes from the higher income to the lower income, so the gap is one of the smallest in all advanced nations.
By contrast, the U.S. is one of the worst of all advanced countries for a poor kid to grow up in, and fewer poor children escape poverty than in any other. The U.S. government redistributes least of all advanced nations. American parents pass on about 47 percent of their economic advantage to their children compared to just 15 percent for Danish parents.
So why is “redistribution” such a bad word in America?