Goodbye Sweden

  

This is the last post on this blog. I am leaving Sweden for good shortly, and will no longer be following its descent from what was once the third most prosperous country in the world. Frankly, it’s just too damn depressing. 

I was born and raised in Sweden, which leaves a cultural mark even though I moved to USA in the 1990s and have spent the better part of my adult life as an American. Coming back for a few years has been a shocking experience.

When I was a child, Sweden was a dull yet very safe place to live. Yes, there was a heavy blanket of socialism and collectivist values covering everything, but there was a core of pragmatism beneath the redness. The intention and goal was always to benefit the citizens, even though they went about things in a backwards manner. 

 

Prime minister Löfven 
Today, it’s as if the inmates are running the asylum. The politicians are participating in a chicken race of “goodness” where everybody tries to one-up each other in caring for the citizens of OTHER countries while Swedish retirees, school children, handicapped and other vulnerable categories of people are thorougly ignored. Violence is exploding. Jihadist Trojan horses are flowing through the porous border along with the tens of thousands ID-less refugees. 

But what makes me the most pessimistic about Sweden’s future is how the social fabric itself has been undermined. 

Now, to be clear, it is my opinion that modest immigration is healthy for society and beneficial for trade, cultural development and so forth. Protectionism as a concept is counter-productive, while free trade and the ability for skilled labor to go where they’re in demand is beneficial for everyone.

Having said that, what Sweden is doing is something completely different. The once homogenous population has been forever altered by a rapid and massive addition of people from vastly different cultures and value-systems. 26,8% of the population is now foreign-born or with at least one foreign-born parent, and the national census bureau estimates that some 150 000 per year will arrive to the country of just 9,8 million residents.

There simply is no possible way to absorb and assimilate such volumes of people, period. Then you are merely creating ethnic enclaves, which due to incompatible language, culture and job skills become ghettos, which in turns brews crime, misery and extremism. Once the inflow has exceeded the capacity for absorbtion, further immigration only makes the problem worse. 

It’s like someone having read that a cup of green tea per day is healthy, so they make it a policy to chug four gallons per day, every day. It’s a good thing overdone to the extreme until it becomes toxic.

Then you have the Swedish school system. There really is no nice way to put it; it’s a complete disaster. The minister of education is a man-boy who spends his time making Youtube-videos showing heart-signs with his hands to boost school results, while university-level students can’t read and comprehend the course literature. 

  
Education minister Gustav Fridolin
Since there is a delay in the changes in the school system, it is only in recent years the full impact of the knowledge-averse “progressive” school system is starting to be felt. Hard facts are largely irrelevant; the important thing is to sit in a group and discuss things until a consensus is reached. But with no hard facts to base the conclusions on, it becomes an exercise in futility because it’s all random assumptions and opinions. As a university-level history student (!) was quoted as saying in newspaper Svenska Dagbladet the other day: “Why would all these dates matter? Who cares in what order things happened?”

That’s not exactly fertile soil for creating the researchers and engineers of the future.

Financially, Sweden is an oddity in that it never had its real estate correction when Lehman Bros went belly-up and the housing market everywhere in the West crashed. Sweden just kept steaming ahead, which means housing is ridiculously overinflated. In Stockholm, the real estate prices increased 19% and in Gothenburg 24% in the last 12 months alone — from an already sky-high level. 

  
Tear-down abandoned house from 1932 with small, unremarkable lot in the outskirts of Stockholm. Current bid: 7,5 million SEK, or close to $900,000.

As a result, personal debt of the Swedish population is at an all-time high. To keep all this afloat the normal mortgage interest rates are at 2% with central bank Riksbanken at -0,25%, and yet a significant portion of the borrowers are hanging by a thread. If and when foreign banks and investors decide it’s time to turn their backs on Sweden (as happened in the early 1990s) there’s going to be a lot of pain.

Then you have the financial obligations going forward. Like much of the western world, there is a demographic change where fewer tax-paying adults are to support a glut of retirees. What makes it especially dire for Sweden is that in addition to the old Swedes, there’s also a ton of elderly immigrants that are granted “family visas” based on younger relatives having been granted asylum. They’ve never paid a dime in taxes, yet enter the system with full benefits from day one. In theory, this would be made up for by the younger relatives working and paying taxes. Sadly, this is not the case; while ethnical Swedes have a 82% employment rate, immigrants only have 57% with non-Europeans coming in at just 51%.

If Sweden was a person, it’d be like the guy with three mortgages, seven maxed-out credit cards and four collection agencies chasing him that just signed a lease for a brand new BMW X6. Simply put, there’s a lot of red ink in the future; it just hasn’t been fully realized yet.

Finally, there’s the sorry state of the Swedish defense. After decades of constant slashing of the defense budget, the extent of Swedish ambition is to stall an invader for a week in a limited area. This with war raging in Europe, Russian missiles pointed at Sweden in Kaliningrad, and Russian submarines and bomber jets openly thumbing their nose at Sweden as they intrude on Swedish territory on a regular basis. The power vacuum in Scandinavia is so tangible you can almost hear a sucking sound as you fly over it. This, too, will require massive investments when the penny finally drops amongst Swedish politicians.

So while I can’t claim to be any kind of authority on macroeconomics or social predictive models, I see red lights across the board. 

In some ways, I’d compare the country to a farm. Previously, Sweden acted like a sensible farmer and planted wheat here, carrots there, potatoes over there et cetera, by implementing free schooling, sound infrastructure investments, state-financed research and so forth. A few decades later, they reaped the rewards and climbed the prosperity ladder.

In the late 1960s, this pragmatic line was abandoned as leftist idealist Olof Palme took over. But there was plenty to harvest from previous years, so Sweden continued to be the land of milk and honey for a good long while. Then things started drying up, and the process has been one of gradual erosion and decline since the 1990s. 

The famous Swedish health care system is a good example. 120 000 hospital beds in the late 1960s became 20 000 today. Cancer patients are put on waiting lists for months. Entire emergency wards shut down for summer. The crumbling Swedish railroad system is another symptom I examined in-depth last year. The aforementioned defense that now consist of about three fat generals and a rusty rifle (bullets withheld for budgetary reasons).

A sensible farmer would see the problems for what they are and hurry to plant new seeds, so as to return to bountiful harvests of wheat, carrots, potatoes etc. Instead, the Swedish politicians goes by dogma and plants what they think SHOULD grow. So they plant M & Ms, hot dogs and pretzels. The results won’t be fully evident for a few years yet, but as the last reserves of the old harvests are depleted, things will get… Interesting.

From what I can see, there simply is no plausible scenario where these social tensions and future financial committments will not lead to a downward spiral of hardship and strife. I hope I’m wrong. I really do, because I have friends and family I care about that will remain here to see it all play out. 

But I won’t. I’ll be back in the US being mad at Obama for being a lying scumbag. And if Trump manages to get elected in 2016? Whoo boy. A racist ignoramus who takes pride in the worst qualities of a cranky eight-year old should make George “Dumbo” Bush seem like Abe Lincoln by comparison. So every country has its problems. USA has its corrupt yokel in office, just as Sweden has Stefan Löfven. 

I’d like to thank you for having followed this blog and your many insightful comments. It’s been a wild ride at times with heated debates, but it’s been fun — even when I got hatemail from both left-wingers and right-wingers over the same article. 🙂

So thank you, and good luck whereever you are.

  

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Feminist economics

  

Swedish feminist party FI didn’t make it into parliament in the 2014 election, so the threat of mandatory feminism indoctrination camps for all men is postponed for the moment. But they did gain seats in many local governments, including capital Stockholm where they recently participated in establishing the new guidelines for dealing with returning ISIS fighters (free housing, full financial support and lifetime coddling).

In Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city, FI representative Linda Hiltmann took place in local government after the 2014 election. Here’s a clip from a local newspaper captured by Jan Sjunnesson that speaks for itself:

  

“Economy is a tool for achieving politics, and politics should not be constrained by budgetary limitations. Feminist politics emanates from the needs present, and we believe that you can’t establish a budget and then allocate resources.”

If she deals with her personal finances the same way she runs the city, I imagine her household budget must be something else. 

Meanwhile, on a completely unrelated note:

  
“Increased tax for Malmö residents in 2015”

Conservative Swedes uprising

  

There is a grassroots revolution brewing among the conservative Swedes, and it may hit the flashpoint in the immediate future. The result could be a dramatic game changer in Sweden, with repercussions being felt in the other Nordic countries for a long time to come. 

But first, a recap of events. In the September 2014 election, the conservative Alliance led by the Moderates (M) that had ruled 2006 through 2014 lost power. This loss was in no small part thanks to former PM Reinfeldt’s determination to abandon traditional conservative values and openly embrace immigration literally at the expense of everything else

  

Fredrik Reinfeldt 

As a result, hundreds of thousands former conservative voters were more or less forced to the nationalist party Sweden Democrats (SD) as they were they only ones left fending for decreased immigration and a return to fiscal sense. Unfortunately, the party came with unpleasant baggage such as white supremacist roots and current Machiavellian leadership. Thus, many traditionally conservatives stayed put hoping for the best when new M leader Anna Kinberg Batra took the helm. This hope was soon turned into moot; she’s basically a spineless carbon copy of Reinfeldt.

  
Anna Kinberg Batra

But the “conservative” parties’ incompentence pales in comparison to the epic fiasco that is the current prime minister. As the “conservatives” lost power, socialist Stefan Löfven formed a weak coalition government with green populist party Miljöpartiet (MP) that had never before been in government. It was a disaster from day 1, but things didn’t come to a head until the first budget was to be presented. 

  
Current socialist-green government

Nationalist party SD, which was now the third largest party, made it clear well ahead of time that they would topple any budget that ignored their demand for decreased immigration. A reasonable request considering Sweden has only 2% of the EU population, yet receives almost 20% of the total inflow of refugees. They even went so far as to issue an open letter to new prime minister Löfven that they would support his budget should he just cut immigration by half. This would still make Sweden the most generous country in Scandinavia, and the state tax coffer would get a breather. No sale. 

Löfven refused to even meet with SD. He put his socialist budget out there. And as promised, SD voted it down. The shock, anger and surprise was almost comical. “Whaaa..? They didn’t cave? They actually did what they said they would do? How DARE they..!?”  

Löfven reacted like a child who just lost the game. He issued a snap election, where the stupid voters were supposed to give him the majority needed to single-handedly push through his budget. So there!

Except… The voters kept piling into the SD camp. From 12.9% in the September election, they were already polling around 15% in early december. Since the snap election wasn’t to be held until March 2015, there was a very real chance they’d be closer to 20%, and that would REALLY mess things up.

So Löfven called on his traditional enemies in the conservative Alliance and struck a deal instead of holding the promised snap election. In the infamous December Agreement, they basically recreated the old Italian Acerbo law of 1923, granting a minority government freedom from opposition. This is what Mussolini’s fascist party used to grab power and create a dictatorship despite being a minority. Conservative think tank Heimdal summed it up best: This is civil treason!

Since then, the “conservative” parties have sat on their hands while the lefties have made full use of their freedom. Progressive tax hikes on fuel, abolished deductions, drastic increases in welfare entitlements, and of course increased foreign aid to Hamas (“Palestine”)… The party is just getting started, and the “conservatives” have agreed to stay passive and perhaps shake their fists a little for the look of things until 2018.

Meanwhile, more and more displays are flashing red in the Swedish economy as well as the societal fabric itself. The Swedish currency is in free fall, the housing market is so inflated the slightest vibration can make the bubble pop, and the current as well as future obligations of literally hundreds of thousands unemployable immigrants are painting a stark picture. 

But the rudder is firmly tied down. The anti-democratic December Agreement succeeded in shutting out SD from any influence whatsoever. The Alliance is bound by it’s promise to do nothing. And Löfvens Socialdemocrat party is so weak it is entirely dependent on extreme left fringe party Vänsterpartiet (V) which has been granted the role of kingmaker despite only having a few percent of the vote. Which allows the extreme left to make whatever demands it sees fit. 

This situation is of course utterly absurd. 

It defies reason WHY the “conservatives” would rather let all this happen than just sit down with SD. Because they could, at any given time, shake off the shackles of the December Agreement and declare their own government with passive support by SD. The conservative voters want to see reduced immigration. And they certainly want to see an end to the leftist madness now taking place, so it’s hardly a stretch to see this obvious solution happening. Except, of course, the party leadership with M in particular stubbornly refusing to even consider the option.

But now there’s a grassroots revolution taking place within M. More and more voting districts have openly declared their rebellion against the bizarre December Agreement, and the local leaders are on a full-on collision course with the top brass in Stockholm. Being a spineless amoeba, Kinberg Batra continues to downplay the rebellion and do the depressingly familiar politician-dance around the issue, but the cat is out of the bag. 

So what we have is a fork in the road in front of us. Either the grassroots manage to set their foot down hard enough that the top brass changes course and revert back to old-school conservatism. This may mean a shift in government, where the lefties are unceremoniously kicked out and a real conservative government passively supported by SD can begin to roll back the madness. Failing that, at least there will be real opposition again to stop further overtaxation and moronic foreign policies

The other possibility is that the top brass stomps out the grassroots. Mass expulsions of key members in the rebellious voting districts would quench the uprising, but it would also mean mass exodus of regular voters. All the remaining traditional conservatives who has thus far clung on to their old parties in the hope for common sense to resurface, would leave en masse to join the only champion for sense left standing. If the party leaders in Stockholm choose this route I think it is perfectly reasonable to expect SD to clock in over 30% as the single biggest party in the 2018 election. 

Personally, I fear Sweden will choose the latter option. This means three more years of financial mayhem, followed by a tremendous amount of power being handed to a group of opportunists whom I personally wouldn’t trust one iota. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

Tino Sanandaji: Things are not going well for Sweden

  

Tino Sanandaji is a Kurdish-Swedish economist with a solid list of credentials including a PhD from University of Chicago. He has made a name for himself in Sweden by doing the unthinkable: Speaking the truth about the devastating financial impact of Sweden’s bizarre mass-immigration experiment. 

Unfortunately, most of his exquisite skewering of the official line on Sweden’s supposedly excellent financial health is in Swedish. That’s why I’m pleased to have been granted permission to translate his latest analysis, which may provide a bit of counterweight to the generally accepted, rose-tinted version being pushed in Europe and elsewhere. 

Things are not going well for Sweden

  

The Director General of the Employment Office recently warned that welfare funding requires a net immigration of about 100,000 per year going forward. Around the same time the new health budget was released. It is interesting to contrast the Employment Office’s image with how [Swedish Finance Minister] Magdalena Andersson’s own budget describes the Swedish economy.

Firstly, we note that instead of catching up with the native-born, the immigrants have lost further ground in terms of income:

“The position of the foreign-born in the income distribution has worsened between 1995 and 2013 (see Table 2.3). One reason for this is that the immigration structure has changed over time. From being almost totally dominated by labor migration, the refugee and family immigration has come to represent an increasing share of immigration since the 1990s.”

Another piece of exciting news is that migrants’ income mobility has fallen slightly, while other people’s income mobility has increased. Normally, lower incomes tend to have greater potential for income upward mobility. Instead of the higher mobility as the group has integrated immigrants income mobility decreased.

“The results suggest that the movement may have increased marginally for several groups over the period 1995-2013. For foreign-born, however, the mobility slightly lower during the latter part. The shift towards increased refugee immigration during the 2000s has probably contributed to this. The employment rate in this group is lower and the income development worse than average within the group of foreign-born.”

Economists measure the growth in prosperity with GDP per capita. A few months ago I pointed out that [former Finance Minister] Anders Borg had taken the unorthodox decision to simply not recognize the standard measure of GDP per capita in his budget. Data on per capita GDP can not be found in the government report for the period 2006-2014 that the Alliance [the allegedly conservative government coalition previously in power] went to the polls on. Ander Borg must have been ashamed to show that growth in per capita GDP between 2006-2014 was an unimpressive 0.3%. Measured from 2007, the growth was negative. Magdalena Andersson’s budget is to her virtue is not quite as disreputable that Anders Borgs, and GDP per capita is omce again displayed. 

“Per capita GDP is a measure of the economic standard of living that better illustrates how increased production is allocated on a per capita average. Despite some recovery after the financial crisis, GDP per capita was no higher in 2014 than in 2007.”

 

[Text above: The most common measure of economic growth is GDP growth. However, simple GDP growth over time is no guarantee that the citizens enjoy a higher standard of living. GDP growth also has to be related to the population growth. GDP per capita shows the production divided by the number of citizens and can thus be used to measure economic standard of living. 

The growth of GDP per capita has stagnated. 

Real GDP per capita increased by 1 percent on average per year from 1980 to 2007. In conjunction with the beginning to the financial crisis, when the GDP growth dipped considerably, the GDP per capita also fell (see graph 3.2). Despite some recovery, the GDP per capita was not higher 2014 than 2007, despite a GDP growth of 6 percent. By this measurement, the standard of living has not increased during this period.

Productivity is important for GDP per capita to increase

Long term, the productivity development is the determinant for the GDP growth and thus also GDP per capita. Then productivity is mostly determined by technological advances such as digitalization. The technological development is usually driven by investments, material as well as immaterial. Political decisions may impact the long term productivity levels, for example through taxation, the education system, research and patent laws.

The growth of GDP per capita usually move in tandem with productivity (see graph 3.3). The poor development of GDP per capita since 2007 is thus caused by weak productivity devlopment coupled with strong population growth. The increase in population has not been matched by an increase in hours worked.]

The world economic crisis is of course an important reason for the weak growth. But contrary to the often repeated claim that Sweden has the strongest economy in Europe, or even of all comparable countries, growth per capita below the OECD average. Half of the OECD countries grew faster per capita than Sweden.

Seven years of negative GDP growth is unparalleled in the Swedish post-war period. Likewise, there is no eight-year period with lower GDP growth than 2006-2014. It is a fascinating sign of our times that [former Prime Minister] Reinfeldt and Borg were allowed to portray the worst period in living memory as some sort of golden era of growth. After all, checking this is not more complicated than clicking on a table on the SCB website and see how real GDP inflation-adjusted prices has evolved.

  

An important explanation for the negative growth in GDP per capita is a disastrous development of productivity. The Spring budget states: “Productivity growth in business (calendar-adjusted) averaged 0.2 percent per year from 2007 to 2014.”

Again, there is no seven-year period with such weak productivity growth in the Swedish post-war period. Like the GDP per capita, overall productivity has been weaker in Sweden than the OECD average. The explanation for the per capita GDP being even worse than productivity per hour worked is that the recent population growth has not led to a proportional increase in hours worked:

“The weak growth in GDP per capita since 2007 thus depends on productivity has been weak, while population growth has been strong. Population growth has not been matched by an equal increase in the number of hours worked. “

Meanwhile, some good news in the budget is that refugee migration costs, er, investment in welfare funding continues to soar. Costs for initial reception of asylum seekers are recognized in the budget posts “Migration” and “Integration and Equality”. These asylum-related items increased from a historical level of around just under 10 billion per year to an estimated 49 billion in 2018.

By the way, don’t let yourselves be fooled by the name of the line “Integration and Equality”. Only about one percent of the cost are actually gender-related expenditures, while the rest consists of expenditure items such as municipal compensation and that in everyday language called “welfare”. A novelty in the budget is that the government intends to change the name of the category of “Equality and newly arrived immigrants establishment”.

  

Post 8: Migration

Post 13: Integration and Equality

In Magdalena Andersson’s budget proposal six months ago, the estimated costs of asylum reception between the years 2015-2018 was set to 153 billion SEK. In the spring budget, costs have been revised upwards and is now estimated to end up at 172 billion from 2015 to 2018.

While on the topic, we may note the just-concluded intense defense funding negotiations. Fredrik Reinfeldt often pointed out that we live in a more uncertain environment than we have in a long time, and consequently underfunded the Swedish defense. Now the defense appropriations have increased by 10.2 billion over five years, ie about 2 billion per year. The upward revision alone for the costs of asylum reception the past six months is twice as large as the increase in funding for the repository to 2020.

The past few years have been the worst Sweden experienced in the postwar period in term of productivity and growth of GDP per capita. This has coincided with the fastest immigration in Sweden’s history. This does not prove itself to record immigration caused the poor economic development, post hoc ergo propter hoc. It is possible to indirectly deduce that immigration is probably only a contributing explanation for the poor growth. Other explanations include the crisis in the business environment, weak export growth and a restrictive monetary policy related to unhealthy signs in the housing market. Time will tell whether a more expansionary monetary policy and the recovery of economic activity will lift GDP growth again.

It is also important to know how bad things have actually turned in Sweden. One reason is that variations on the myth that Sweden has the strongest economy in Europe is used to argue that the immigration policy can’t have any negative economic consequences.

One example is the member of parliament Fredrik Schulte of New Moderates [formerly the ruling party led by Fredrik Reinfeldt]. In an article four months ago he wrote: “Sweden has since 2006 had the strongest economic growth among comparable countries. Excepting commodity-driven economies such as Norway and Australia, we’ve had among the strongest growth rate and the highest productivity. Similarly, we have among the highest employment growth (and the highest employment rate in the EU), had a significant reduction of societal exclusion, increased resources for the welfare and as one of few countries have reduced our debt. Sweden has not only performed better than comparable countries, but is also a richer and more prosperous country than we were eight years ago – also in relation to the population increase. Whether this is independent of, thanks to, or in spite of immigration is the subject of discussion, but there is no doubt that Sweden is one of the world’s most welcoming countries, and also the most successful.”

The image of reality as the New Moderates are using to defend its immigration policy is mostly untethered fantasy. For example, Shulte speaking of “high productivity” among comparable countries despite the pathetically low productivity increase of 0.2% and below the OECD average.

The Employment Office report is similarly based on the idea that integration is significantly improved. The Employment Office withholds that the increase in employment in the already modest 2 percent, in practice corresponds with more people simply being put into labor market policy measures. The Employment Office are not talking about and perhaps are not even aware of the already soaring income gap between immigrants and native-born. Welfare and public services are financed with real revenue and taxes, not more politically created measures to occupy people.

Arguing that “we will be more people working,” or that Sweden will “have more taxpayers” by population growth does not increase wealth. The reason is taught at secondary school level: The wealth of nations is not determined by the size of their population, but by its average productivity. Sweden has in recent years experienced a large increase in population, a phenomenon that many developing countries are well familiar with. Instead of focusing on increasing productivity, the Alliance put its efforts into increasing the population; something they pretended was synonymous with “growth”. Having Bangladesh and Nigeria as role models in economic policy did not, however, make Sweden a richer country.

As I said, recent years have been the worst Sweden ever experienced in the postwar period in terms of growth in prosperity and productivity. This did not stand in the way of the concocted image of the Reinfeldt years as some sort of golden age of economic growth. Instead of examining the rulers’ claims, the journalists helped to uncritically spread the Alliance fantasies all the way into the 2014 election. For example, as far as I know, not a single journalist asked Anders Borg why the state budget no longer used the standard measure of GDP per capita.

Magdalena Andersson however, has no interest in hiding Reinfeldt and Borg’s fiasco, which meant that the Treasury has again started to report GDP per capita. Nevertheless, there are still many who stubbornly cling to the image that things are going well for Sweden. Anyone with skills sufficient enough to click on a link to SCB or OECD have long been able to reveal that it is not true that Sweden would have the best growth and strongest economy. Yet the myth was repeated as a mantra in an echo chamber, because everyone else also repeated it. “It is known” that Dothrakis would have said.

Many journalists and politicians seem to sincerely believe that recent years has been characterized by rapid growth in GDP per capita and productivity. One possible explanation is that the Swedish government finances fared better than many continental countries after the 1990s crisis, primarily due to the consolidation of public finances. It is possible journalists confuse the public debt with what had happened to the economy at large. Another explanation may be that those in leadership positions tend to be high earners and have seen their incomes grow. All this is somewhat humorous and would be easy to mock. That these delusions survived in the debate also shows that many rulers themselves are ill informed and do not know what they are doing. Sweden has embarked on a radical migration experiment that no other developed state has ever done, and it appears they have done so blindly.

Tino Sanandaji

Editor’s notes in [brackets]. Also note that these numbers and much more is publicly available at ekonomifakta.se and scb.se for verification for anyone interested to read more.

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.

Sweden invite Saudi rulers to “gender awareness” class



There has been a debate in Sweden going on for a while about the renewal of a broad trade agreement with Saudi Arabia. The rub is that the agreement includes the sale of military grade radar systems, which is making the Leftists hit the ceiling and demand the agreement be terminated.

Exporting anything more dangerous than a pillow packaged in styrofoam peanuts is of course tantamount to personally carrying out genocide. So their long-term ambition is to shut down all military production, but in the short term the Lefties are putting their foot down hard — and that includes the Green Party (MP) half of the government. 

It is in this context that business magazine Dagens Industri interviewed the head of the responsible committee, Secretary Reidar Ljöstad. Contrary to the Leftist posturing, the extent of the agreement is remarkably small once you look at what actually happens on a day-to-day basis. But there is one area where the alert Swedes have been quite vigilant. They have repeatedly extended invitations to gender awareness classes for the Saudis.

“They have been invited to gender awareness classes..?” the incredulous reporter asked.
“Sure, several times. There is a standing invitation,” said Ljöstad.

Yes. The government of one the most, if not THE most, patriarchical society on earth is being offered gender awareness education. The country where goats and camels enjoy higher status and protection than women. 

Strangely, the Saudis have thus far declined.



Bet you didn’t see that one coming.

Reverse cherry-picking



I recently wrote about the ballooning cost of Swedish immigration, and it struck me how completely different the Swedish approach to immigration is compared to other Western countries.

Canada and Australia are two countries with a sensible, structured and fair point system that determine eligbility for potential immigrants. While no system is perfect, these clear guidelines reward higher education and likelihood of swift assimilation into society. 

In other words, all immigration above the UN-mandated refugee quotas are strictly cherry-picked to maximize the benefit for the host country. This in turn also benefits the immigrants, because there’s not a glut of new arrivals fighting for scarce jobs and there is no stigma in being a new arrival; employers know that if you’re an engineer fresh off the boat, your credentials have already been vetted by the government. It’s a win-win for everyone.

When I lived and worked in Silicon Valley, there was a lot of talk about the H1-B visa system and how it created friction vs. the native engineers. Still, some of the most brilliant people I’ve met were Indians who scored their visas through fierce competition at the top Indian universities. To say that these guys were beneficial to society is an understatement, both in terms of taxes paid and work contributions.

It is my firm belief that Sweden would benefit greatly from an addition of, say 50 000 highly educated and entreprenurial Indians, Chinese or whatever. Origin is unimportant; it is the qualities of individuals and what they’re bringing to the table that matters. Sweden has a huge problem with youth unemployment, and a few thousand hungry upstart companies would do wonders for everyone.

Unfortunately, Sweden has decided to do the polar opposite. Skilled workers face a dense forest of red tape, and the oppressive tax system makes the best and brightest look elsewhere. Getting perhaps half of the take-home pay you would command in Silicon Valley, for the privilege of living in snow and slush rather than under swaying palm trees? No sale.

No siree, the Swedish priority is those with the absolutely least likelihood of entering the workforce anytime soon, if ever. Humanitarianism is the one, supreme guiding light — which is fine up to a point when it becomes destructive. That is where Sweden is now. It’s like trying to save 30 people into a rescue boat that only has capacity for 10; when it sinks, everybody loses. 

Unemployment among unskilled immigrants is rampant, with all the costs and social challenges that come with it. That makes perfect sense if you think about it. If you have little education, there simply aren’t that many jobs in a modern, industrialized society. Especially since Sweden has powerful unions that make it a huge risk for an employer to hire. So even if the vast majority of the new arrivals really would like to roll up their sleeves, there’s just isn’t anywhere to turn but remain at home on the welfare dole. 

Anyone pointing out that this is a problem is immediately shouted down as “racist” which makes the issue radioactive. The fact that the challenges would be just as great with a massive inflow unskilled albinos is irrelevant; any critique against the status quo can only based on an irrational hatred of foreigners.

On the flip side, this suppression of sensible voices leaves the stage open for actual racists who like to get into muddy theories of genetical predisposition towards laziness as the “explanation” certain groups have abysmal employment rates. And sure, every society has a certain percentage that really would rather lie on the couch and let others do the work. In Western societies, those afflicted with this clinical aversion to honest work are often easily identified by their Che Guevara T-shirts. But any sensible person recognizes that the high unemployment among immigrants is primarily caused by lack of job skills.

What make matters worse is that Swedish media and politicians insist on treating all “immigrants” as if it was a homogenous mass rather than groups with vastly different skills and opportunities. A Swiss surgeon is an “immigrant” and goes in the same bucket as the illiterate Somalian refugee goat herder. 

Then you purposefully start intermixing the term “immigrant” (which is everyone) with “refugee” (which are almost always poor and uneducated). Voila! Magic! For starters, you can now create a strawman where anyone suggesting the country should accept fewer goat herders is really objecting to ALL immigration. (“Are you so terrified of foreigners you don’t want to let the nice surgeon in? Shame!”) 

It also means you can now conceal part of the cost of the goat herder by letting the surgeon’s taxes paid average into the equation. (“See, the cost of immigration isn’t so bad! Have you no heart wanting to limit the refugees, now that you see how little they cost? We can afford to double the refugee inflow!”)

The latest wrinkle in the web of deceit surrounding Sweden’s extreme immigration is the idea that there are tens of thousands highly trained engineers, doctors and scientists languishing away in idleness or menial jobs because their credentials don’t get verified quickly enough. When you hear the Swedish PM talk, every single immigrant taxi driver and window washer is a rocket scientist with at least three PhDs and one Nobel prize. But thanks to Swedish bureacracy, it takes forever to validate their credentials. 

That’s of course a load of bull feces. Kurdish-Swedish economist Tino Sanandaji, acclaimed authority on political economy with a PhD from University of Chicago, addressed the issue in a recent article. I encourage you to run the linked article through a translator; it’s a delight to read an expert rip political BS to shreds using hard facts. 

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Tino Sanandaji

“The most important cause of low employment by far among refugees and their dependants is a low level of education in combination with the increasing demands of today’s knowledge-intensive labor market.”

“[The idea] that Sweden has forced thousands of doctors to remain unemployed or has the world’s best trained taxi drivers is nothing more than a populist urban legend.”

Unfortunately, voices of reason such as Sanandaji’s are routinely dismissed, simply because they don’t fit the established doctrine. In every article, TV debate and talkshow, Sanandaji has crushed politically correct lackeys with math, logic and verifiable facts. No wonder he doesn’t get invited very often anymore.

UPDATE: The Director-General of the Swedish immigration bureau, Anders Danielsson, was interviewed in newspaper Sydsvenskan recently. He had this to say:

 “When I meet with foreign colleagues, they say that Sweden is an odd country when it comes to asylum issues,” he said . “No, I say then, it is you who are odd. All of you.”



“Hey, you’re all going the wrong way!”