Now that the March 2007 elections have revealed Finland’s desire to be a stalwart traveler on the path to European integration and worldly competitiveness—an absolutely wonderful occurrence for this otherwise isolated country—it causes me to reflect on Sweden’s elections in September 2006. Sweden, like Finland more recently, obviously realized it can’t compete for capital internationally with obscene over-taxation and heavy governmental structures.
Compared to Finland, Sweden isn’t the poorest country in the world, mind you. In fact, wealth-per-capita is nearly double Finland’s. That doesn’t say much though, because Finland is at the bottom of any western European wealth rankings. Sweden itself barely reaches above the bottom thirdÃ¢â‚¬â€-slightly above its other lower-middle class Nordic cousins, Norway and Denmark. Countries like Germany (a significant part of which is formerly communist), Spain and Italy surpass Sweden by safe margins. Switzerland and USA have roughly double Sweden’s wealth-per-capita.
For many decades, over-taxation and over-regulation by Socialist rulers have ensured that new businesses locate outside of Sweden. Skype is a well-known example. Even successful individuals have sought greener pastures abroad. For example, IKEA’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, along with at least one ABBA singer, have apparently found comfortable tax homes outside of Sweden. There are many others of course. The Swedish tax exile has become a special classification of world citizen who adorns his adoptive home with talent and tax revenues. Ideology-steeped Sweden is left in the dust. And rightly so.
Finally, in the wake of the September 2006 elections, Sweden has a chance to change its standing for the better. Its new government promises:
- Tax cuts on income to enable investment and incentivize work
- Tax cuts on employer-paid wages to improve competitiveness
- Tax cuts on wealth to encourage entrepreneurship
- Tax cuts on real estate
- Tax cuts for small and medium businesses
And lastly, it even aims to lure back tax exiles who the Socialists so foolishly chased away over the years. Could it get any better? Finally, Sweden has a chance to really prosper, and its citizens can regain their dignity by ditching their world-renown image as helpless wards of a welfare state who can’t survive without reaching into someone else’s pockets. One would think they’d be overjoyed at the prospect of once again becoming strong, vigorous and independent. All this with only a minimal amount of sacrifice.
But according to this poll, only a few short months after the election, about 51% are crying for the nanny state to come rescue them. Apparently, they can’t even withstand a small amount of temporary discomfort, even if it means a better life for them in the near future. Of the 51%, this leads me to ask: Who are these imposters dressed in Yellow and Blue?
Surely not descendants of the fearless Vikings.