Only earlier this year, finance minister Anders Borg was boasting over the seemingly rock-solid Swedish economy.
“We’re building strong financial levees,” Borg said in comment to the May report from the finance-politicial council. “Continuing to work towards balance and surplus in public finances /…/ is vital in facing the next global crisis with active policies.”
Less than four monts later, the tune has changed — dramatically.
It all started when Prime Minister Reinfeldt made a 180-degree turn from the previous party line than Sweden’s extreme immigration policy was in fact profitable. In the home stretch of the 2014 election, he suddenly announced it was indeed ruinous. Instead, he shifted gears and appealed to the generous spirit of Swedes, urging them to “Open their hearts.” Unfortunately, this meant there would be literally no room for traditional election promises, as the massive cost of immigration absorbed all potential surplus.
Overall, the tiny country of Sweden (10 million citizens and 1/22 the geographical size of USA) takes in more immigrants than USA, Canada and Australia — combined.
Now the other shoe has dropped. Today, Ekonomistyrningsverket (ESV), the Swedish government’s department for financial steering and oversight, issued a report that predicts 2014 to hit a record deficit.
“The expenses related to migration and integration increases sharply 2014-2016 due to the immigration from Syria in particular,” the report states. “We estimate that the costs will increase by 34% in 2014 and another 27% in 2015.”
In terms of real money, this means a shortfall of some 76 billion SEK from previous 2014 estimates, with the 2015 budget deficit landing at 24 billion SEK. Unless, the report cautiously points out, there are further increases in immigration costs.
For the country overall, is means the direct costs of immigration is approx. 3% of the total government budget for 2014, increasing to 4% for 2015. There are also a number of indirect costs, such as health care, education, law enforcement and certain welfare programs not counted in the direct immigration cost estimate.
In a side note, the report also concludes that foreign aid is decreasing due to the ballooning immigration costs within Sweden’s borders. In other words, all available resources are being used for the lucky few who can spend a few hundred thousand SEK to have the human smuggling networks bring them through 6-7 countries. These people get food, shelter, service staff, phones, iPads, free public transit, entertainment and pretty much everything else they need served for free. All Syrians are granted permanent residency upon arrival, making it a lifetime arrangement. This policy is unique for Sweden.
Meanwhile, the hundreds of thousands languishing in miserable refugee camps without water, tents and the most basic healthcare needs are largely left to their own devices. Estimates vary, but most seem to agree that you could support about 100 refugees in such camps for the same cost as one immigrant in a Swedish asylum facility.
Unfortunately, questioning the rationale behind this odd prioritization is sure to bring out harsh accusations of racism, as political party Sverigedemokraterna (SD) has discovered. Thus, the focus continues to shift from cost-efficient, local refugee aid, to disastrous immigration policies and massive budget deficits.