Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Reality-Based Ownership Society

Via the Independent:

High taxes seen as a vote-winner among contented Swedes

"Sweden, the country with the highest taxes in Europe, is planning to increase them further to boost public services already envied by most of its neighbours. In a forthright challenge to the low tax orthodoxy of Britain's centre-left, Swedish politicians say their voters will stump up more money because they get value for money from their welfare state.

The move also underlines the success of the so-called 'Nordic model' under which countries following Sweden have forged competitive economies with high levels of taxation and public spending. Although Swedes face some of the highest tax bills in the world, they enjoy free, high-quality school and university education, generous unemployment benefits, state-funded maternity and paternity leave and guaranteed child care. So popular is the system that Eurosceptics won their referendum campaign against euro membership in 2003 mainly by presenting the single currency as a threat to the welfare state.
Jens Henriksson, state secretary at the Swedish finance ministry, said: 'People may be able to afford five flat-screen TVs, but what they really want is a good school for their children.' He said increased taxation is necessary to pay for a predicted rise in the cost of public services over the next 30 years as the country gets richer and more demands are made on education and health care.

The Swedish government has yet to decide which taxes to increase but the cost will fall on the average citizen. Though the tax burden in 2003 was 51.4 per cent of gross domestic product - the EU's highest - corporate tax rates are low to compete with other European member states.
And the 'Nordic model', with its investment in hi-tech science, has delivered economically. Sweden's economy grew at almost 4 per cent last year with a 3 per cent increase predicted for 2005. This has been achieved with the highest rate of investment in research and development of any European country, 4.3 per cent of gross domestic product compared to 1.9 per cent in the UK in 2003.

Excellent child care has brought more women into the workplace; good schools have delivered a well-educated workforce; public spending has created good transport links, and high unemployment benefit has allowed thousands of workers to retrain and change profession."

If for no other reason, I'm tempted to move to Sweden so I won't be exposed to the mating call of neanderthalus antitaxus during politcal campaigns--"It's your money!" It's pandering at its worst and promotes Free Lunchism, the hook that BushCo uses to win the support of people who ultimately will be taken to the cleaners by their various Rube Goldberg schemes.

There isn't a chance in hell that this will get picked up by the mainstream media stooges in the U.S. Too bad. The Swedes are obviously owning all sorts of good things just by paying their taxes.


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