For the ones of you that do not know: Swedes pay the highest (relative) taxes in the world. We are the only country in the world where more than 50 percent of GDP are absorbed as tax. UK is at about 35%, and Japan at 25%, for example.
It is nice with taxes. It is a good model for how people in a community finance shared and public operations. I even hope and believe that we (eventually) will reach the kind of happy and enlightened sci-fi communism that you can see in Star Trek. But it will not be in my lifetime, and probably not in my grandchildren’s either.
Today, our rather new Minister of Finance Pär Nuder presented the government’s “spring fiscal policy bill”. Its purpose is to lay out the direction for Sweden’s long term fiscal policies, but also make necessary adjustments to the current year’s budget. Due to the fact that the state’s income from tax was not quite as high as the budget had suggested, some minor adjustments were made. These adjustments are made so that Sweden's deficit this year not will be too large, but we are still talking about a deficit. Now to why I choked on my coffee this morning, reading an SvD article:
“The public authorities had to contribute last year to make plus and minus match. Now we are given notice that we don’t get those money back, and have to contribute once again.” The words are Annette Carnhede’s. She is chairman of Sweden’s trade Union for Civil Servants.
I am speechless. I cannot understand how an educated human being can speak about allowance to authorities in such a way; that a lowered allowance could be considered as a “contribution” from those authorities. From my perspective, that person’s perception of reality is severely distorted.
In some kind of sick way, maybe it all makes sense after all. If you are born and live in the only non-communistic country on earth where more than half of GDP consists of taxes, maybe you start to think that “contribution” is something mainly derived from the public sector. And if you stop from furthering raising those taxes when the public sector’s perceived needs are greater than tax income, then that is a great sacrifice made by the public sector.