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Sweden's growing wealth gap 'troubling': Borg

Sweden's growing wealth gap 'troubling': Borg

Published: 29 Dec 2011 11:32 GMT+01:00
Updated: 29 Dec 2011 11:32 GMT+01:00

Figures showing financial improvements for Sweden's middle and upper classes, at the same time the country's poorest have seen their incomes decline have given finance minister something to fret about.

Figures showing that income differences are on the rise in Sweden, with most household wallets growing fatter, as those with lowest income fall behind, are 'troubling', according to minister of finance Anders Borg.

Nearly everyone in Sweden has seen their incomes rise in the last five years.

However, those included in the ten percent of the population earning the least have seen their incomes fall by 5.5 percent, or 350 kronor ($50) per month after tax, according to figures from Statistics Sweden.

In the same time, incomes for the ten percent of the Swedish population earning the most have risen by 7,300 kronor, or roughly 23 percent.

According to the statistics, the higher income a someone had in 2005, the greater percentage increase in income they experienced in the last five years.

Figures indicating that Sweden's rich are getting richer while the country's least well-off earn less don't sit well with finance minister Anders Borg.

"We ought to have a country that sticks together, and it's naturally troubling to see indications of the opposite," he told news agency TT.

Borg suggested potential changes in government spending he envisions may help put a stop to the trend.

Increased subsidies for pensioners and families with young children, as well as loosening the strict rules for receiving welfare, are some possible changes he suggested.

However, the growing income differences should be no surprise to Borg, or the centre-right government, as their own budget proposal for 2010 included the prediction that lowering income taxes would lead to growing income gaps.

Clara Guibourg (clarabara@hotmail.com)

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Your comments about this article

12:00 December 29, 2011 by Roy E
To what extent has the government imported this situation?
12:13 December 29, 2011 by isenhand
'troubling' but predicable, along with the increase in social problems we see as well as more problems yet to come. Things should get much worse if Sweden continues on its current path. This comes from the research done within sociology; the relationship between the wealth gap and social problems does come out as quite a strong connection.
13:23 December 29, 2011 by procrustes
Lemme seee, here: if I earn 10,000 then I pay the government 3,000. If my income increases to 20,000 then I pay the government 6,000. What is the government doing with ITS increase?

This stinks of conditioning us for higher taxes.
15:13 December 29, 2011 by Dazzler
"Increased subsidies for pensioners and families with young children, as well as loosening the strict rules for receiving welfare, are some possible changes he suggested."

Let the mass migration begin!
17:48 December 29, 2011 by Rey Stockholm
Pensioners getting extra is fair enough as they have contributed.

Current policy of extra payments to the workshy or masses of immigrants is not sustainable . À country of à few million people Can not go on giving out hand handouts

Welfare has got to be last resort to get people to work and contribute to the system
19:23 December 29, 2011 by just a question
So everything is working according to the plan, no surprises. Privatisation of basic services+mass migration+shitty jobs+housing bubble+educative bubble and unpaind education loans =poverty
19:41 December 29, 2011 by viennacalling
its basically the same in all western society , poor man he should not fret about it, the rich are getting richer and the poor are paying for it, welcome to the real world

if he really wants an answer take a look at argentina !
20:07 December 29, 2011 by johan rebel
So the least well-off earn less? How many of them actually earn a living by working for it, huh?
00:32 December 30, 2011 by glamelixir
@Just a question: SPOT ON.

I mean, if this is coming to him as a surprise well... he should revise which party he is representing. As far as I know that is what happens when you apply the kind of economical policies they are preaching.

@Viennacalling: What exactly do you mean by take a look at Argentina? Please develop your argument. So far I can think of at least two different interpretations and they come quite contridictive to each other. So I would like you to develop your thoughts further.
01:32 December 30, 2011 by Larry Thrash
So the answer is to subsidize poverty by confiscated money from those who earn it and give it to those who don't? How about cutting punitive taxes like the VAT that punishes everyone, so people can keep more of their income. Then people wouldn't be so dependent on government resources, but that is the goal of socialism to make people more dependent.
05:22 December 30, 2011 by Marc the Texan
Hello Mr. Borg,

Here is a little economics 101 for you. Wages rise and fall based on the supply of labor and the demand for that labor. Importing lots of cheap unqualified labor does not increase the wages for workers who have to compete in that labor pool. Which part is more troubling? The low wages, or the difficultly in accepting that the laws of economics are as certain as the laws of physics?
09:22 December 30, 2011 by heyheyhey
@marc the Texan......

Here is a bit of truth for you.

Wages rise and fall based upon the greed of the pig b@stards that own corporations today. These pig b@ stards have purchased the political process, I its entirety, in your country. I will assume that you are one of the pigs who turn your nose at the stench from those whom toil for you. You are disgusting!
14:33 December 30, 2011 by Larry Thrash
Marc the Texan you are correct, the natural laws of Economics are the same as in physics. Heyheyhey, Texas has become the economic powerhouse that is lifting the the standard of living of all that live here. Just ask the Swedes that live here.
20:51 December 31, 2011 by Grokh
i know how to solve unemployment and increase production that would end the world economic crisis.

make everyone who is not a millionaire a slave.

11:23 January 5, 2012 by shahislam
Price Hike? Non-sense propaganda by oil dealers! Sanctions on Iranian heads and a few more heads of oil producing lands and then closed Western eyes will make fuel price drop dramatically. There will be no shortage of crude ever on Earth under sun, so let them produce, supply and sell whatever amount they want. And watch how world economy gets better
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