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Nordic Euro Socialism Getting Cut Down To Size

From the Agence France Presse:

Nordic welfare state being cut down to size

By Soeren Billing | January 21, 2014

Copenhagen (AFP) – The Nordic model, known for high taxes and its cradle-to-grave welfare system, is getting a radical makeover as nations find themselves cash-strapped.

What’s that Lady Thatcher quote again? (‘The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.’)

During the post-war period, the Scandinavian economies became famous for a "softer" version of capitalism that placed more importance on social equality than other western nations, such as Britain and the United States, did. But globalisation, economic necessity and an ideological shift to the right has led to a scaling back of the public sector.

In reality, this ‘cutting down to size’ of Northern Europe’s socialism has actually been going on for decades. But our states-side news media have studiously avoided reporting on it, lest their low information audience find out that socialism really doesn’t work.

They don’t want the great unwashed to realize that following Obama and the Democrats toward the (supposed) European model is the road to disaster.

In Sweden, visitors are sometimes surprised to learn about year-long waiting times for cancer patients, rioting in low-income suburbs and train derailments amid lagging infrastructure investment.

All due to the lack of socialism, of course.

"The generosity of the system has declined," said Jonas Hinnfors, a professor of political science at the University of Gothenburg. "Much of this already started changing in the 1980s and especially in the 1990s," he added. In the wake of a banking crisis in the early nineties, Stockholm scrapped housing subsidies, reformed the pension system and slashed the healthcare budget.

The hell you say!

A voucher-based system that allows for-profit schools to compete with state schools was introduced, and has drawn attention from right-wing politicians elsewhere, including Britain’s Conservative Party.

Don’t tell Obama. He hates school vouchers.

In 2006, conservative Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s government accelerated the pace of reform, tightening the criteria for unemployment benefits and sick pay while lowering taxes.

Meanwhile, we are moving in exactly the opposite direction here in the good old US of A.

Income tax in Sweden is now lower than in France, Belgium and Denmark, and public spending as a share of GDP has declined from a record 71.0 percent in 1993 to 53.3 percent last year.

Once the darling of progressives, Sweden has become a model for free-market-leaning thinkers including British weekly The Economist, which last year hailed the scaled-down Nordic model as "the next supermodel." …

This month, the Wall Street Journal praised tax cuts and entitlement reforms in Sweden and Denmark that "are now discomfiting their big-government admirers overseas." …

If Sweden is the Nordic country to have gone the furthest in shrinking its welfare state, Denmark has moved the fastest. When her Social Democratic government took power in 2011, there was little to suggest Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt would make any dramatic changes to the country’s cherished welfare state — funded by the world’s highest tax burden.

After a centre-right government had raised the retirement age and reduced the unemployment benefits period from four to two years, "Gucci Helle" — as she is known among her detractors — went on to cut corporate taxes to 22 percent from 25 percent.

Other reforms have included requiring young people on benefits to undertake training, and withdrawing student aid to those taking too long to finish their studies..

The next Nordic country to reform its welfare state is likely to be Finland, battered by a downturn in the two pillars of its economy: the forest industry and information technology. Helsinki responded to the crisis by announcing in August a slew of measures to put more Finns to work.

Under the controversial plan, the retirement age is to go up, time spent at university will go down, and incentives to enter the job market will be boosted for the unemployed and young mothers…

But for pity’s sake, don’t tell anyone on this side of the Atlantic. Especially anyone in the news media or the rest of the low information crowd. It would be like telling them there is no Santa Claus.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Nordic Euro Socialism Getting Cut Down To Size”

  1. Petronius says:

    So the Muslim refugees are still rioting in Sweden?

    Is the Empty Quarter still full?

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