Sweden taxing itself into oblivion

  

I have two months left in Sweden before I return home to USA. Honestly, I’m starting to feel like the guy in a bad movie that manages to get his plane off the ground two seconds before the runway crumbles into the abyss.

The security concerns with returning ISIS fighters aside, the social tensions are mounting rapidly alongside the enormous cost of the unprecedented increase in immigration. 

Aftenposten, one of Norway’s major newspapers, did a big story yesterday comparing the very generous (by European standards) immigration of Norway vs. the jaw-dropping kamikaze approach of Sweden. 

The article is entitled “Facts about immigration to Sweden that the Swedes would rather not talk about” and summarizes the madness pretty well. If you don’t want to run it through a translator, the graphs speak loud and clear for themselves: 

  Total number of asylum seekers, Sweden vs. Norway.

  

The percentage of applicants actually granted asylum.

  

The increasing additional cost (Migration bureau only, not secondary expenses).

 

The number of people with granted asylum, yet remainining in temporary housing.

Shantytowns and Nordic favelas are to be the new “normal” as the modular housing program is launched in every major town. There’s no time to waste; housing for 600 000 new arrivals, as much as an entire new Stockholm, must be arranged to meet the inflow in the next few years alone. Nevermind that anyone can see that these favelas will become cesspits of crime, drugs and permanent misery the instant they’re created.

The cost of this misguided humanitarianism is already skyrocketing. A week ago Dagens Industri, the leading business daily in Sweden, took a sobering look at the state finances. The cost of immigration kinda stood out: +205%.

  “Here are the runaway costs”

To counter this rapidly expanding money pit, the leftist government has announced a barrage of tax hikes and reduced or abolished deductions. 

The deduction for retirement savings accounts is gone. The tax on the alternative fund savings accounts is also to be hiked, although the exact level is TBD. The Swedish equivalent of social security is already in the red, and since all new arrivals are entitled to pensions (sometimes more generous than those who has worked and paid taxes all their lives) it is a mystery how coming generations are to survive without private savings to make up for the inevitably shrinking government pensions.

Charity thrift stores are as of this year hit with a 25% sales tax [EDIT: This has since been repealed, fortunately.]  and deductions for household services (ranging from carpentry and plumbing to maids and study aids) are reduced or abolished. The previous moderate deductions allowed regular taxpayers to get help for small stuff without hiring someone off the books, which dramatically reduced the shady underground black economy in previous years).

Fuel taxes will be hiked considerably, starting with 0,44 SEK per liter starting 2016. But… Here’s the kicker: They also snuck in a progressive tax hike, linking fuel tax to the consumer price index plus 2% annually. So without any politician having to lift a finger, the cost of gasoline will gradually increase. Dagens Industri calculates that in 30 years, the tax hike will be about 224%. That’s some 30 SEK per liter, or just north of $12 per gallon!

Then there’s of course the traditional leftist targets of property tax, reintroduction of the inheritance and gift tax, general capital tax (a second taxation on those who have the poor taste of saving their already taxed money) and more being “considered”. 

Some entries in the laundry list of tax hikes read like an April’s fools joke, but unfortunately isn’t. Refrigerators, freezers, washers, vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, computers, TVs, cell phones and similar goods are now to be taxed with a “chemical tax” based on weight. Say what? The justification for this extra $40 tax on the new washer is to “discourage use of dangerous chemicals in everyday life”. The new tax also applies to linoleum floor mats. 

The list goes on, but one thing is obvious: The Swedish government is desperate for money, and the world champions of heavyweight taxation is ramping up to set themselves apart in a spectacular fashion.

In a functional democracy, this lunacy would be stopped by the opposition. Unfortunately, the traditional conservative parties have agreed to abstain from objecting to a single item in the leftist taxation orgy. The infamous December Agreement was struck to prevent nationalist party SD from demanding a halt in the mass immigration, and now everyone must sit on their hands until 2018. 

But let’s not pretend the “conservatives” are singing a different tune. Former prime minister Reinfeldt was the leader of Moderaterna, the traditional low-tax, law-and-order conservative party. He was the one who deliberately opened the floodgates of immigration in 2011 by striking a deal with green party Miljöpartiet. 

In 2013, Sweden announced it would grant permanent residence to anyone claiming to be from Syria or Eritrea (the claim is usually enough; about 89% of asylum seekers have no ID). Summer 2014, right before the election, Reinfeldt announced there would be “no money for anything except immigration”. But as a humanitarian superpower, Swedes ought to open their hearts, Reinfeldt argued.

  

No, this is not made up. He really said this.

As a result, Reinfeldt lost the election, and a good chunk of the traditional conservatives were forced to jump ship to nationalist party SD. Not because they had any particular confidence in SD, but because of simple process of elimination. The other seven parties all insist on maintained or increased immigration, which gives SD a de facto monopoly on common sense. 

SD will likely overtake Moderaterna as the second largest party before summer, but thanks to the aforementioned December Agreement that won’t matter until SD reaches sole majority in parliament. And since SD is only closing in on the 20% mark, the madness is sure to continue unabated for many years to come.

  

SD is a long way from reaching sole majority, but way up from 12,9% in Sept. 2015

Almost 20% of the population in Sweden is foreign-born. In towns like Malmö, native Swedes are already a minority. This graph based on official census figures shows the population increase of foreign-born (blue) and the decrease in natives (yellow). Quite significant in a country of less than 10 million.

 

Blue: foreign-born, yellow: natives

  

Source: Swedish census bureau, compiled and kindly translated by Affes Statistikblog

What this means in reality is that those with the education, capital and sought-after skills tend to leave Sweden to seek their fortune elsewhere. If a software engineer can make twice as much and pay half the tax in Silicon Valley – and escape the six months of snow and slush – he’ll pack his bags as soon as a US employer signs the dotted line. In his place arrives 3 or 4 uneducated asylum seekers from MENA. And the pace is picking up.

Simply put, what Sweden is doing right now has no equal in history. The American natives had no choice. Neither did the Australian aborigines. Some communist dictatorships have attempted forced relocation programs and social engineering schemes (Tibet, the “Russification” of the Slav cultures etc.) But never before has a people voluntarily decided to set themselves up to become a minority in their own country within a few generations. 

I sincerely hope Sweden will come to its senses and break this kamikaze-dive into the bedrock. But personally, I doubt it, and I don’t intend to stick around and witness it firsthand.

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