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…

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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)


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