I apologize for the "cut-n-paste", not really my style, but I couldn't help it here. Euros, and especially Stocken and other Swedes, do you agree/disagree? This is NOT a "typical" chancremechanic "Euro-bash" that I'm supposedly famous for, but an opinion/debate starter. It's a long read, and I apologize for that, but I think it's worth it, especially if you care about Europe/Sweden. Enjoy!
The New York Times and Sweden: The Dark Side of Paradise
In the New York Times May 10, 2006, Alan Cowell wrote an article from Sweden entitled “An Economy With Safety Features, Sort of Like a Volvo.” Now, in all fairness, Mr. Cowell does mention potential problems in Sweden , not the least that massive immigration is rapidly changing what was once a very ethnically homogeneous nation state. “Up to 10 years ago it was very homogeneous as a country. Everything was very alike. Up until then all Swedes looked the same; almost thought the same. Because we are all so equal, we can share the pain of the problems.” However, at the same time Cowell indicates that Scandinavia may need even more immigration to finance its welfare state, and quotes a report by the European Policy Center, a research institute in Brussels, saying that “Scandinavia’s “negative approach towards immigration” might “represent the biggest threat to the long-term survival” of the Nordic model, since Scandinavian economies need “a constant flux of foreign talent and workers in general.” Still, despite these objections, Cowell concludes that “the economy prospers — even though taxes here remain high and big government administers cradle-to-grave social programs that absorb more than half of the national output” and that “compared with some other parts of Europe , there is still some optimism here.” This is sloppy journalism. If Cowell had done anything more than scratching the surface, he would have found that Europe is in the midst of massive waves of Muslim immigration that are in the process of transforming the continent into a post-Western entity some call “Eurabia.” Sweden is one of the leading countries in this process, quite possibly the worst of them all, and yet freedom of speech in debating these topics in public has become de facto so curtailed that one could question whether Sweden in 2006 is still a functioning democracy.
Cowell states that “ Sweden ’s official unemployment rate of 4.8 percent, many economists say, is distorted by the omission of people in government-financed retraining programs. The labor unions calculate the real figure at closer to 8 percent.” In fact, some Swedes believe that the real unemployment rate may be three times as big as even this higher estimate. Hans Karlsson, a leftwing heavyweight, concluded that true unemployment was more in the ballpark of 20-25%, not 5% as the government was claiming. Even the official numbers show that the Swedish economic model is in serious trouble. Young adults born in the 1980’s have an appreciably lower standard of living in Sweden than older generations. We can already see some major cracks in the Swedish welfare state. Sweden is struggling to pay the bills for the tens of thousands of workers on long-term disability and an expanding group of young people leaving the workforce altogether on so-called “early retirement.” 500,000 people are on early retirement in Sweden today, 68,000 of whom are between the ages of 20 and 40. “If the sick-leave levels in Sweden really were an indicator of how sick we are, we would be facing a plague here,” as one commentator put it.
High unemployment in Sweden will be tackled by creating more public sector jobs, even if that means breaking the government’s spending limits. That was the message from Göran Persson, Swedish Social Democratic prime minister. The jobs will be targeted mainly at young people and the long-term unemployed. They will be given jobs in government agencies, mainly doing desk jobs or looking after old people. Proposals that were highlighted by Persson included using the long-term unemployed to “help old people to hang curtains.”
Johnny Munkhammar of Timbro, a free market think-tank of Swedish Enterprise, explains that the Scandinavian model is not all it’s cracked up to be. Sweden had the second highest growth rate in the world from 1890 to 1950, but since the tax rate rose from 20 % in 1950 to 50 % in 1980 it had fallen behind. For example, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Sweden was the fourth richest country per capita in the world in 1970 whereas now it is down to number 14, and falling. Maybe the welfare state only seemed to be a success in Scandinavia because these nations had been dynamic capitalist countries prior to this, ethnically homogeneous and based upon a Protestant work ethic. While this legacy kept the welfare system afloat for some time, it is now rapidly being eroded.
More immigrants should be allowed into Sweden in order to safeguard the welfare system. That’s the view of Pär Nuder , Sweden ’s finance minister. However, in reality estimates indicate that immigration costs Sweden at least 40 to 50 billion Swedish kroner every year, probably several hundred billions, and has greatly contributed to bringing the Swedish welfare state to the brink of bankruptcy. An estimated cost of immigration of 225 billion Swedish kroner in 2004, which is not unlikely, would equal 17.5% of Sweden’s tax income that year, a heavy burden in a country where the overall tax burden between 1990 and 2005 on average was 61%, almost one and a half times the OECD average.
In neighboring Denmark , right-wing politicians are already debating the threat of a spillover of immigrant “welfare tourists,” should the Swedish system collapse. At the same time, statistics indicate that native Scandinavians will become a minority in their own countries within a couple of generations, if the current immigration trends continue. One thousand years ago Scandinavians were the barbarians of Europe , spreading fear and extracting “Danegeld” from their more civilized neighbors. In the 21st century Scandinavians are peaceful and soft-spoken, and the roles seem to have been reversed with certain newly arrived immigrants. While their political elites insist that immigration is “good for the economy,” Scandinavians are in reality funding their own colonization. Although the cost of welfare is significant, it pales in comparison to the price paid through rapidly declining social harmony and increasing insecurity caused by Muslim immigration. Some of the increase in insecurity is due to the rise of mafia groups and organized crime, but most is mainly due to terror threats and intimidation of critics of Islam and Muslim immigration.
Children in the Swedish city of Gothenburg are to become the first in the world to be given the vote in a referendum. Two official referenda will be held in which only children between 5 and 12 will be eligible to vote. The results of the polls will decide two local issues - the appearance of a new tram and the design of a new library card. A country that even gives the vote to 5-year-old children must be a model of democracy, right? Well, not necessarily, if the political elites treat the rest of the population as children, too. Jens Orback, Democracy Minister in the Social Democratic government, is worried about people who threaten and harass politicians and want these to face tougher penalties. Nearly three out of four Riksdag (parliament) deputies say that they have been subjected to harassment, threats or violence because of their positions. For elected representatives in local government the figure was around one in three. The minister blamed threats and violence against elected representatives “on the public’s lack of faith in politicians.”
But if Sweden is such a paradise, why are so many people angry with their politicians? Perhaps there is something going on beneath the surface? Maybe ordinary citizens feel that the political elites don’t want to deal with the issues they care about? Sweden is a semi-totalitarian country. It’s all about façade. On the surface, Sweden is a tolerant nation and peaceful democracy. In reality, there is massive media censorship by a closed elite that is scared of having a debate about immigration. Opinion polls have revealed that two out of three Swedes doubt whether Islam can be combined with Swedish society, and a very significant proportion of the population have for years wanted more limitations on immigration. Yet not one party represented in the Swedish Parliament is genuinely critical of the Multicultural society or the current immigration policies. The Swedish elite congratulate themselves that they have managed to keep “xenophobic” parties from gaining a foothold while the country is sinking underneath their feet.
Jonathan Friedman is a New York Jew, now living with his Swedish wife in the southern Swedish city of Malmö where he teaches socio-anthropology. According to him, “no debate about immigration policies is possible, the subject is simply avoided. Sweden has such a close connection between the various powerful groups, politicians, journalists, etc. The political class is closed, isolated.”
Two Swedish girls were sent home from school for wearing sweaters showing a tiny Swedish flag. The headmaster was concerned that this might be deemed offensive by some immigrants. Helle Klein, political editor of the newspaper Aftonbladet, boasts: “If the debate is going to be about whether there are problems with immigrants, we don’t want it.” Hans Bergström, former editor-in-chief of the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, worries that Sweden has become “a one-party state.” According to Friedman, the elites are nervous and worried to see their power slip away. And therefore they want to silence critics, as for instance the Sweden Democrats...