Sweden, Spending Restraint, and the Benefits of Obeying Fiscal Policy’s Golden Rule

March 16, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

It’s really kind of embarrassing to admit the world’s most successful capitalist nation in history could learn a thing or two about sound public fiscal policy from what was once the poster-child nation of Social Democracy. But useful, like many such humblings. One hopes our leaders in DC will learn it well.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

When I first started working on fiscal policy in the 1980s, I never thought I would consider Sweden any sort of role model.

It was the quintessential cradle-to-grave welfare state, much loved on the left as an example for America to follow.

But Sweden suffered a severe economic shock in the early 1990s and policy makers were forced to rethink big government.

They’ve since implemented some positive reforms in the area of fiscal policy, along with other changes to liberalize the economy.

I even, much to my surprise, wrote a column in 2012 stating that it’s “Time to Follow Sweden’s Lead on Fiscal Policy.”

More specifically, I’m impressed that Swedish leaders have imposed some genuine fiscal restraint.

Here’s a chart, based on IMF data, showing that the country enjoyed a nine-year period where the burden of government spending grew by an average of 1.9 percent…

View original 886 more words


Social Democratic Sweden headed for private health insurance?

January 22, 2014
Wave of the future?

Wave of the future?

The poster-child for European social democracy seems to be learning that government-controlled healthcare just doesn’t work. Via Reason:

According to Sweden’s insurance trade industry organization, Svensk Försäkring:

“The number of private health care insurance policies has increased in recent years. In 2011 about 440,000 people had private health care insurance. Most of these people have their policy paid by their employer.”

The trend continues, with the English-language The Local reporting last week that “One in ten Swedes now has private health insurance.” The site also says, “More than half a million Swedes now have private health insurance,” though that seems to refer to the growth in the number of policies, with many more of the country’s 9.5 million people actually covered by private insurance.

Why the growth? From The Local:

“‘It’s quicker to get a colleague back to work if you have an operation in two weeks’ time rather than having to wait for a year,” privately insured Anna Norlander told Sveriges Radio on Friday. “It’s terrible that I, as a young person, don’t feel I can trust the health care system to take care of me.’”

In a separate article about Sweden’s shrinking welfare state, The Local also noted that “visitors are sometimes surprised to learn about year-long waiting times for cancer patients.”

There’s more about Sweden’s move away from Socialism and toward free-market solutions. I’ve written about this trend myself, with regard to education and prosperity in general.

Like many people living on either coast, I have friends who are downright Europhiliac — anything Europe does is better, wiser, and more fair than what’s done in the United States, and we should move toward their model.

I can’t wait to tell my progressive friends how Sweden proves they’re right.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama in Sweden: “Red line? That wasn’t *my* red line!”

September 4, 2013

What’s the Swedish for “Don’t blame me?” Oh, yeah: Klandra inte mig! (1)

At a joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Sweden (2), Obama engaged in this bit of historical… “tale-telling:”

“I didn’t set a red line,” Mr. Obama said during a news conference here in Stockholm. “The world set a red line.”

Funny. That’s not how I remember it. Nor is that what the press records:

We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilised. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.

That would be the President of the United States, Barack Obama, talking about his administration’s policy. Not the UN Secretary General, aka the “Chief Clerk for the Security Council,” speaking for some mythical “international community.” Just so we’re clear.

I guess that’s what happens when you’ve spent most of your political career voting “present.” When that’s not possible anymore, you try like the dickens to spread the responsibility around so that no one can hold you accountable: “I did not draw a red line; we all drew a red line. (Under his breath) So lay off me, okay?”

It’s the Steve Urkel presidency: “Did I do that??”

Harry Truman weeps.

Footnotes:
(1) Courtesy of Google Translate.
(2) You know, that social-democratic country that’s more free-market than the US.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Great Northern Teddy Bear War of 2012?

August 9, 2012

Agent of Swedish Imperialism

Hey, we’ve had the War of Jenkin’s Ear, why not a diplomatic row over a child’s toy?

Belarus-Sweden teddy bear row escalates

Belarus has taken strong diplomatic action against Sweden following a stunt involving parachuted teddy bears.

Sweden says all of its diplomats have been expelled from Belarus, which has also closed its embassy in Stockholm.

Belarus was angered when a Swedish public relations firm dropped about 800 teddy bears with pro-democracy messages from a light aircraft.

President Alexander Lukashenko sacked his air defence chief and head of border guards over the 4 July incident.

He told their replacements not to hesitate to use force to stop any future air intrusions from abroad.

Belarus is Europe’s last Stalinist state, run by a whack-job former Soviet apparatchik, Alexander Lukashenko. I’m sure, after he passes from the scene, they’ll be reabsorbed by increasingly authoritarian Russia. Meanwhile, I eagerly await Wolf Blitzer’s breathless reporting in a CNN special on The Teddy-Bear Crisis.

And UN observers. Mustn’t leave out the UN observers.

via Slublog

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Say it after me: “If Bush had done this…”

April 17, 2012

This photo has gone viral:

It's okay! We're all leftists here!

From the Swedish paper Fria Tider:

The shocking photos show how several established left-wing members of the Stockholm cultural elite celeberate together with Cultural Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth when she slices and eats a cake depicting a black African woman with minstrel-esque face.

According to sources Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth was invited to declare festivities open by performing a clitoridectomy on the cake, which she did by removing the cake woman’s labiums.

But, see, they’re evolved, tolerant, anti-racist lefties, so there’s no problem. This was just a tolerant, broad-minded example of multiculturalism. Group hug!

Yeesh.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Another great moment in the history of “WTF??”

December 5, 2011

A man in Sweden who had both legs amputated has been denied a motorized wheelchair, because…

A man from Nyköping in eastern Sweden has been denied a power wheelchair despite having had both of his legs amputated as the local health authority remained “uncertain if the impairment was permanent“.

What, they think he’s maybe part-lizard, and the legs will grow back? That it’s only a flesh wound?

Like I said, “WTF??”

News like this makes me so look forward to government-run healthcare in the US; I’m sure you’re excited, too.

via Dan Mitchell

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


My mom was worried when I was given a chemistry set.

August 4, 2011

Imagine how she would have felt if I had asked for a home nuclear reactor kit:

Swedish police have detained a 31-year-old man in Ängelholm in western Sweden who was discovered after he sought advice from authorities on the legality of building a nuclear reactor in a domestic kitchen.

Richard Handl began his experiment some six months ago and has reportedly been open about his plans to construct a nuclear reactor in his apartment in the small Swedish coastal town, maintaining a blog of his nuclear adventure.

Handl, who explained that his interest in nuclear physics was awakened as a teenager, ordered some radioactive material from overseas and acquired more by taking apart a domestic fire alarm.

Despite the Handl’s frank and full disclosure of his experiment, his activities only came to the attention of the authorities a couple of weeks ago when he contacted the Swedish Radiation Authority (Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten) to inquire if it was legal to construct a nuclear reactor at home.

Handl was told that somebody would be sent to measure the levels of radiation in his flat.

That “somebody” turned out to be the police, who arrested him. Handl was later released, probably after having his Junior Nuclear Destructo Kit(tm) taken away and being told not to do that again.

Anyone else just a wee bit concerned that it was so easy to just order nuclear materials online?

I wonder if Amazon has free shipping?

via WUWT

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Undercover in a Swedish mosque

December 16, 2010

Stockholm politician Daniel Arrospide went undercover in a local mosque and, in an interview conducted in the wake of last week’s suicide bombing, reports on what he saw and heard:

Makes you feel secure, no?

This highlights something I wrote about earlier: that many mosques in Western nations are active recruitment centers for the jihad, and we need to know what’s going on in them.

Meanwhile, I hope Mr. Arrospide has a bodyguard…

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Jihad and immigration

December 14, 2010

Sweden recently found itself a target for Islam’s jihad against the West everyone else, but, before that, it had become a locus for jihad recruitment among emigrant Muslims. At Big Peace, Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism looks at terrorist connections in Sweden, particularly among immigrant  Somalis:

Somali’s al-Shabaab recently issued a new recruitment video, targeting international jihadists and particularly Somali youth living abroad. In a Swedish-language section, former Swedish resident Abu Zaid called on his audience to “make Hijra,” to immigrate to Somalia. Drawing his finger across his throat, Abu Zaid also threatened cartoonist Lars Vilks, whose drawings of the Prophet Muhammad have led to death threats that now keep Vilks living in seclusion. “Know what awaits you, as it will be nothing but this, slaughter,” Zaid told the Swedish listeners, “If you can, kill this dog Lars Vilks. Then you will receive a great reward from Allah.”

Some of the approximately 25,000 Somalis living in Sweden have responded to al-Shabaab’s call. Police and residents report that roughly 20 youth left to join the terrorist group, particularly from the heart of the Swedish Somali community, Stockholm’s suburb of Rinkeby. The Swedish state security police, SAPO, stated that five of them have been killed and 10 are still at large in Somalia. Al-Shabaab recruitment was also linked by Swedish authorities to a Somali youth center in Rinkeby, which had been receiving funds from the Swedish government. In addition, two Somali immigrants, one from Stockholm and another from Gothenburg, recently received 4 year sentences for planning to go and fight with al-Shabab.

Somalia is in danger of turning into a new Afghanistan: a failed state that is fertile ground for al Qaeda and other Salafist groups. Indeed, one of Somalia’s major jihad groups, al Shabab, has aligned with al Qaeda and is recruiting among Somalis in the United States. The recruitment has been focused on bringing people back to fight in Somalia, but it would be naive to discount the possibility of Somali recruits waging jihad here in America at some point in the future.

Articles like these bring home the dangers of radicalism in immigrant Muslim communities: many of the 9/11 hijackers were students in Germany. The tube bombers in Britain and the jihadists who attacked the Glasgow airport were British Muslims, either immigrants themselves or the children of immigrants. The suicide bomber in the Stockholm attack was apparently radicalized in the British town of Luton, a known hotbed of extremism.  Here in the US, the Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, was a naturalized citizen from Pakistan.

All this reminds us of the need for effective counterintelligence. While it would be wrong and unjust to make a blanket assumption that all Muslim immigrants are terrorists or likely recruits for jihad, it would be an act of deep denial and politically correct blindness to refuse to see the potential for radicalization of at least some among those immigrants and watching for the signs. That means both developing contacts and informants among the Muslim community and planting undercover operatives at known radical mosques. Yes, that’s distasteful –as it should be– but it’s also necessary for our own defense in an age of terrorism and war.

Otherwise we’re going to be left asking the same stupid questions about what happened and why, when the answers are right before us, if we would only look.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Swedish PM: Don’t bother me with facts when I’m being tolerant

December 13, 2010

Following up on the recent jihadist terror attack in Stockholm, the BBC interviewed Prime Minister Reinfeldt. His reaction to the near-atrocity in his capital? Outrage? Anger? A vow to defend his nation and people with whatever it takes?

Nope. Instead he responded with a firm “This is unacceptable.”

My reaction? Unbelievable.

Click the image to watch the interview at the BBC’s site:

“Unacceptable.” Boy, I bet that has the guys who love death just quaking in their boots.

And he’s not sure that the attack and the threatening emails received minutes before were related? You mean the emails that read

“Our actions will speak for themselves, as long as you do not stop your stupid war against Islam, your humiliation of the prophet, and your support of the pig Wilkes,” the warning said.

Emphases added. That last is in reference to Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who’s under death threats for drawing Muhammad in a satirical manner.

Back to Prime Minister Unacceptable, if he’s still unsure, maybe he should ask the jihadis themselves, who have identified the bomber as one of their own:

An Islamist website on Sunday identified the bomber behind Saturday’s attacks in the Swedish capital Stockholm as Taymour Abdel Wahab and published a photograph it said was him.

“It is our brother, mujahid Taymour Abdel Wahab, who carried out the martyrdom operation in Stockholm,” said the website Shumukh al-Islam, which published a photograph of a man in dark glasses and Western clothes.

And just in case PM Head-In-The-Sand quibbles that the website authors could just be blowing smoke from their hookahs, the UK’s Daily Mail confirms:

Iraqi-born Taimour Abdulwahab Al-Abdaly, 28, blew up his car, then himself, in the capital Stockholm.

And today it emerged he was thrown out of a Luton mosque three years ago for being too radical.

A Swedish prosecutor said it was likely that Abdulwahab was wearing a bomb belt and was possibly on his way to a department store or train station when the explosive detonated by accident.

(…)

The Bedfordshire town has a Muslim population of 20,000 and has been linked with a string of high-profile extremists.

Last year Muslim protesters disrupted a homecoming march of soldiers returning from Afghanistan.

It has also emerged Abdulwahab – who had lived in the UK for 10 years – visited radical Islamic websites and Facebook groups including one which offers advice on preparing for Judgement Day.

Another website he visited – Yawm Al-Qiyaamah – shows pictures of Tower Bridge engulfed by flames and has more than 8,000 followers.

His Facebook page features an Islamic flag being raised over a world in flames. On the page, he says he is a member of the group Islamic Caliphate State, which seeks to establish Islamic rule worldwide and adds: ‘I’m a Muslim and I’m proud.’

Honestly, if this is the kind of leadership Sweden has, then just give up now and welcome your new masters. There’s value, of course, in being thoughtful and calm in time of crisis, but when someone is trying to kill your people, when a group has declared war on your whole society, just saying what they’re doing is “unacceptable” is an act of weakness and an open invitation for the next attack.

And when that happens and you’re bagging body parts on the streets, what do you do next? Unleash a public shaming?

LINKS: McQ at Q&O says Sweden has a choice to make.

SOURCE: Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt newsletter. Must-reading, trust me.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Muslim terrorists hit Sweden

December 11, 2010

The Religion of Peace lived up to its name again, this time in an attempted mass murder of Christmas shoppers in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. Two separate bombs went off, but, thankfully, only two Swedes were injured:

A car loaded with gas canisters detonated in a busy section of downtown Stockholm today, followed by another explosion 10 minutes later caused by a suicide bomber.

After the explosions, the bomber was found dead lying about 300 yards away from the car bomb, reportedly wearing a suicide vest and a backpack full of nails and surrounded by the remains of pipe bombs. The bombs apparently were inexpertly crafted and failed to detonate to full capacity. Two people were wounded in the bombings, which took place in a street filled with Christmas shoppers.

Only minutes before the attacks, the Swedish Security Police (SAPO) had received an email warning, with sound files in both Swedish and Arabic, referring to the presence of Swedish forces in Afghanistan and to the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed by Swedish artist Lars Viks, Reuters reported.

“Our actions will speak for themselves, as long as you do not end your war against Islam and humiliation of the Prophet and your stupid support for the pig Viks,” the speaker threatened on the tape, as reported by Swedish news agency TT.

The message threatened the Swedish state and its people, according to the BBC, saying the time had come for them to die “like our brothers and sisters.” It also exhorted militant Muslims in Sweden and Europe to rise up against the West.

The Long War Journal notes the similarity of these attacks to the attempted Times Square bombing a few months ago, indicating perhaps another attack by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, the Pakistani Taliban. Sweden had been on high alert for several weeks, as a Mumbai-style attack had been feared in Europe for several weeks.

And you can bet, in politically correct, multiculturalist Sweden, Swedish authorities, media, and the intellectual elite will put the blame for this anywhere but where it rightly belongs: the doctrine of jihad fi sabil Allah (“War for the sake of Allah”) and the supremacist, separationist, and aggressive attitudes toward non-Muslims built into Islam.

Until our leaders recognize the religious aspect of a war that’s been going on for over a thousand years, these attacks are going to happen again and again.

They are still trying to kill us.

LINKS: More from Moe Lane, Jihad Watch, and Hot Air.

UPDATE: The Jawa Report has video. Big Peace calls it the Christmas jihad.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


When even Sweden runs away from socialism

May 16, 2010

Here’s an interesting video from Reason.TV, in which Swedish economist Andreas Bergh talks about how Sweden owes its success not to social democracy, but lowered tax rates and deregulation. Of special interest is what he has to say about Sweden’s health care and educational systems. Washington, take note:


If even Sweden doesn’t want to be like Sweden…

March 12, 2010

Why then are President Obama and his progressive statist allies trying to force the social-democratic model that Sweden embodies down our throats? A Swedish economist with the Center for Freedom and Prosperity explains how Sweden became prosperous, how it wrecked that prosperity, and what it is doing to regain it:

I’m tempted to write something like “President Obama, take note,” but The Won really isn’t interested; like all good statists, he knows what’s best for the rest of us, whether we like it or not.

(via Dan Mitchell)


When even Sweden cuts taxes

September 20, 2009

The former poster-nation for social democracy, Sweden, has just slashed taxes in order to spur economic growth.

You think the White House and the congressional Democrats might take a clue from this that perhaps -just maybe- they should rethink their economic policies?

Nah. Me neither.


Signs of the Fall: Sweden

May 13, 2009

So now Sweden has decided to allow women who want abortions to make their choice based on the gender of the fetus. I hope they’re proud: a supposedly civilized Western nation has now put itself on the same moral level as Communist China.

There’s just one word for this: obscene.

Look, I personally do not favor allowing abortion except in limited circumstances, but I do think society should be able to make that policy decision through its elected representatives at the state level.

Regardless of where one falls on the abortion issue, however, I think we can agree that the "right" to kill a fetus because it’s not of the sex you want is monstrous — unless you favor the most extreme positions imaginable.

As does our President.

 


Now that’s embarrassing

January 2, 2009

Or, it should be. Swedish police in the city of Malmo are so impotent against Islamic vandals that they had to hire a security service to guard the police station.

Just turn in your badges, guys. That's pathetic. Doh


Is North Carolina a province of Sweden?

September 12, 2007

Do school officials in Sampson County, North Carolina, take their orders from Pär Blondell? On the anniversary of the September 11th attacks in which 2,974 innocent people died, students at Hobbton High School have been forbidden to wear American flags as part of their clothing — no pins, no shorts, nothing. Why, because school officials didn’t want to show favoritism:

The superintendent of schools in Sampson County calls the situation unfortunate, but says educators didn’t want to be forced to pick and choose which flags should be permissible.

So it’s impermissible for American students to display American flags at an American school to commemorate the day so many of their countrymen were murdered? You’re putting the American flag on the same level as Soviet Union’s or the Nazi’s? I can see banning those; what they stand for is hateful. How about al-Qaeda’s? They carried out the attacks, after all. But to forbid students from wearing their own country’s flag in honor of the dead and in defiance of our enemies? Are you so afraid of offending someone that you’d rather suppress your students rights to free speech? Are you so trapped in a politically correct straightjacket that you’ve lost all perspective?

Is simple patriotism wrong?

Bah.

(hat tip: Blue Crab Boulevard)

LINKS: More at LGF.

UPDATE: (via Sister Toldjah) The ban has been lifted. Likely after getting lots of outraged emails, I’ll bet.


Multiculturalist nonsense

September 6, 2007

A bout of insomnia last night has left me almost too knackered to blog today (You should have read Gore’s book! –ed. But I don’t like bad science fiction.), but I can’t let this one pass:

Did you hear the one about the Swedish principle who banned sports jerseys bearing the Swedish flag from a Swedish school — because it’s a racist, xenophobic symbol?

A school principal in southern Sweden has banned pupils from posing for class photos wearing national team shirts containing Swedish flags.

Since national flags may be perceived by some as xenophobic, eighth grade pupils in Karlshamn have been ordered to wear less inflammatory garb for a photo to be published in the school yearbook.

"Anybody looking at the photo could view it as a political demonstration," principal Pär Blondell from Strandskolan told news agency TT.

The headmaster added that some of the pupils have labelled the ruling "ridiculous".

Following an article on the subject in newspaper Sydsvenkan, a number of parents and irate letter-writers contacted the principal to express their dismay at the shirt ban.

But Blondell stuck to his guns, arguing that the pupils risked inadvertently earning themselves a bad reputation. People could begin speculating about "the racists from Karlshamn" once the yearbook began being distributed in the Malmö area, he said.

Malmo is the Swedish city with perhaps the highest percentage of Muslim immigrants in Sweden. Riots are a regular occurrence there, and the public order situation is so bad that there are Muslim areas of Malmo that are no-go zones for the police.

One wonders if the principal is doing this out of multicultural sensitivity, or if he’s just plain scared. Actually, I don’t wonder at all.

LINKS: Gates of Vienna has more.


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