To: Donny Deutsch
Fr: Djaffar Shalchi, Danish millionaire and founder, Human Act
Re: “F***ing Denmark”
Dear Mr. Deutsch,
I noticed with interest your comments regarding healthcare and wealth on Bill Maher’s show last week. It’s not often that my home country of “f***ing Denmark” gets compared to the United States, let alone so colorfully.
You said: “My grandfather was a cop, ok. My mother was a school teacher and they worked really hard to put me in a position where I can buy the kind of insurance I want . . . If I can’t buy it for my children, we are going backwards. We’re f***ing Denmark.”
Let’s set aside your choice to highlight the modest careers of your grandfather and your mother, while neglecting to mention your father’s success as the founder of a large advertising agency. I’m sure it was not your intention to misrepresent the privilege into which you were born. And good for you for appreciating how your takeover of your father’s business at age 32 (20 years after he founded it) did indeed put you in a position to buy the best insurance available. It is important, isn’t it, to give credit where credit is due.
Unfortunately, not everyone is born into such privilege. Forgive me if I misunderstood, but I interpreted your comments to suggest that you believe the unfortunate souls who were not “put,’ as you were, “in a position” are not entitled to quality health care coverage. I disagree with that notion, but luckily for you, the way that the United States has chosen to structure its health care system guarantees they will not receive it. Problem solved!
Now, back to “f***ing Denmark.” Given your comments, I can only believe that you have never set foot in my wonderful country, and are perhaps misinformed about our healthcare system. Please allow me to enlighten you.
In f***ing Denmark, we spend almost half as much per capita on healthcare as the United States. Despite our lower levels of spending, our life expectancy is higher, our infant mortality is lower, and our overall health is much better than the United States. In f***ing Denmark, we deliver high-quality, universal healthcare to each and every citizen, unlike the United States, which offers a for profit “consumer choice” system that leaves millions of your people “choosing” to be uninsured and hundreds of thousands of others “choosing” to be both insured and bankrupt.
You say that your family worked hard to put you in your position — so did mine. I was born in Iran in 1961. My family moved to f***ing Denmark when I was a child, after a series of rejected immigration applications, forced separations, and the turmoil in my birth country pushed my family to our limits. I finished my education here, married a beautiful Danish girl and had two amazing children, and built my fortune as a self-employed entrepreneur. I am now a multi-millionaire like you!
While your good fortune began with your father’s success, I credit my good fortune to f***ing Denmark and its robust, inclusive social system that values equality and opportunity for everyone. Unlike the United States, my country has embraced an advanced social tax system that requires people like me to pay substantial and increasingly “progressive” levels of tax. The people of f***ing Denmark use these funds to invest in the people of f***ing Denmark. Our tax revenues give everyone health care, education and a strong social support system, among other things.
And by the way, I never worry about buying the kind of care I want for my children, because f***ing Denmark gives it to them. Perhaps that is why, when one compares our two great nations, we find that Danes are much happier than Americans, and that our social mobility is markedly better than it is in the land of the “American dream.”
But don’t take my word for it (or rely on pesky facts that prove it), instead, come to f***ing Denmark and see for yourself a happy and healthy society, funded in part by hefty taxes on millionaires like you and me.
Consider this your official invitation to visit me in f***ing Denmark.
If you are available to travel to Copenhagen from December 8–10, you will also have the chance to meet a group of American millionaires who have a very different view of things than you do. The Patriotic Millionaires will be joining me to discuss setting up a global network of millionaires who want to include everyone in the bright future ahead. Like me, they are pleased to invest in programs that help everyone — our children, our children’s children, even someone else’s children.
Mr. Deutsch, please join us. I believe you could learn a lot from our discussion. Perhaps you will even find a way to use your immense privilege and national platform to help your country become just a bit more like f***ing Denmark.