Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/62

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN DENMARK

War it rose with enormous rapidity; in 1916−1917 it was 20,000,000 kroner. Approximately 70,000 persons, all told, benefited by the system, besides about 20,000 who were dependent upon them. A considerable proportion of the people who have reached the age of sixty are now receiving old-age pensions, and approximately one-fourth of them are men. The percentage increases greatly with advancing age.

Invalid Insurance

Several attempts have been made to amend the act. The fixed rates of the Berg-Hörup bill have had many friends, and strong declarations have been made in favour of extending the act to include invalids under sixty years of age. It must be acknowledged that in this respect the German system has a great advantage over the Danish system. In 1903 a new committee was appointed, which, after several years, handed in a report. In this report two principles stand over against each other. On the one hand it was proposed to let the existing arrangement for sixty-year-old persons apply to younger invalids as well. This was a very simple solution, but it aroused some apprehensions on account of its expense. Now that the state and the municipality had bound themselves to spend so much upon the old, it was thought right and proper that a tax should be imposed as a sort of premium for a certain number of years on those who would benefit by the pension, in order to lighten the burden resting upon the general public. The chief proposal was to the effect that every person in the country should pay from his eighteenth year, for fifteen successive years, an annual contribution of 24 kroner as a premium, for which he would receive an annuity in case of invalidism, or at the age of sixty-five; and this annuity would be supplemented, if necessary, by a government grant. This arrangement was not adopted, however, and it was therefore to be inferred that public opinion favoured more and more the simple solution of allowing people to