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Taxes and jobs dominate party leader debate

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 1 Feb 2010, 09:05

Published: 01 Feb 2010 09:05 GMT+01:00

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"The well-off can expect to have their taxes raised. Our proposal affects those earning more than 30,000 kronor ($4,000) per month," Green Party spokesperson Peter Eriksson confirmed during the Sveriges Television debate.

But coalition partners the Left Party were unwilling to give a clear signal to voters on taxes.

"We will give confirmation in April. I do not want to discuss taxes without discussing welfare," party leader Lars Ohly said.

Social Democratic party leader Mona Sahlin also indicated that more will be revealed on taxes in April.

"We have confirmed our position on property taxes. Those living in the most expensive homes will pay more and those living in cheaper houses and apartments will pay less," she said.

"Our tax cuts will be aimed primarily at pensioners."

Moderate party leader Fredrik Reinfeldt repeated the party's pledge to proceed with tax cuts for average income earners. But the government parties were not able to confirm concrete plans for the forthcoming mandate period.

Unemployment remained a hot topic of debate.

Peter Eriksson maintained that 100,000 people had been added to the ranks of the unemployed during the centre-right government's tenure, a claim rejected by Fredrik Reinfeldt.

"The statistics show that we have 100,000 more in work, despite a deep financial crisis and recession. This is as a result of a consistent employment policy, but we are not satisfied," responded Fredrik Reinfeldt, who added that the government had acted to protect welfare services despite the crisis.

Reinfeldt cited international studies which he argued confirmed Sweden's resilience during the downturn.

"Increased employability and lower costs is our answer - what is your response?" he challenged.

"We have a policy, climate investments, home-building and saving jobs, at the core of the welfare state," Mona Sahlin replied.

Nuclear power and divisions within the Centre Party kicked off the debate, the first of the election year.

While it emerged that four Centre Party members opposed the government's energy agreement, party leader Maud Olofsson assured viewers that the parliament would adopt the proposal.

"There was one who voted against, the rest of the (parliamentary) group were in favour. It is the long term approach that is important," she said.

Story continues below…

Olofsson also responded to a question as to why the far-right Sweden Democrats now enjoy more support in recent opinion polls than the Centre and Christian Democrat parties.

"We're don't dare to debate integration," she conceded.

The recent controversy over the merits of a legal ban on the wearing of a burqa or niqab in public places was touched on during the SVT debate.

Fredrik Reinfeldt played down the significance of the debate but underlined that it was important to send a clear signal to young women in Sweden that they should not be obliged to hide their faces.

"I am prepared to back them on their decisions," Reinfeldt said. The prime minister has previously ruled out legislation to ban the Muslim dress.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:55 February 1, 2010 by Beynch
Of all the esteemed politicians above, the second from the left is the one who is least equipped to do anything fruitful about jobs and taxes. The only thing certain is that if this politician gains a foothold in government, taxes would go up for both individuals and corporations, and that as a result nothing good would come to jobs. And speaking of "hiding faces", which one in this cabal is best suited to actually achieve concrete results on the sorry state of the immigration situation in Sweden? And I'm not only talking about shoveling ever increasing mounds of cash on it.
13:23 February 1, 2010 by Audrian
Taxation is one side of the budget. You have also the expenditure side of the budget. Taxes are collected because of plans to spend them. The state of taxation can not be understood with out discussing of the other side of the budget, expenditure.

If a politician said that he plans to reduce tax, one should immediately ask which programes are you cancelling and why. If the on the other hand a politician said that he/she is going to increase tax, the inevitable question should have been what new programs are you planning to underatake and why.

In the discussion the link between tax and expenditure the discussion was an empty noise.
13:35 February 1, 2010 by aaww
full of unclear statements. full of bullshit.

how can someone have a statement like "........... more will be revealed on taxes in April" , if they are not sure what they are going to do, they should not be in the election. how would people vote for a party who does not want to unveil or even know their rulling policies.
14:24 February 1, 2010 by Audrian
I agree with aaww*s "full of bullshit". In US , for example, the art of politics is the art of saying nothing. Obama, when he was campaigning, was of unknown quantity, which people filled the blank about him with what they thought he would be. Now both the left and the right are against him. Internationally his popularity is also declining. He makes the right type of noises but does nothing about them, e.g., global warming and the Middle East.

American type of politics is spreading fast in Europe. None of the Swedish politicians talked of their programs clearly. Politicians take their people for granted, besides assuming that they are stupid!
16:44 February 1, 2010 by gumbi
............. "The well-off can expect to have their taxes raised. Our proposal affects those earning more than 30,000 kronor ($4,000) per month," Green Party spokesperson Peter Eriksson confirmed during the Sveriges Television debate ...............

how on earth the ones earning more than 30K can be called well-off ? I dont even think it even mark the start of high earning band !
18:00 February 1, 2010 by sissygirl
Don't Swedes already shell out 33% for taxes? 20,000 kronor isn't much left to live on.
20:49 February 1, 2010 by StuartM
360,000 a year is I imagine more than what most Swedes earn and everyone in the richest half or so of the population should be expected to pay a bit more in my view. As Lars Ohly pointed out in the debate taxes shouldn't be seen as something the government takes away from people because as soon as you reduce them the average person is in fact likely to be left with far greater costs than before due to cutbacks in education, healthcare and welfare programmes.

Primarily though I hope a new left-wing government is going to target those at the very top, those who have amassed obscene amounts of wealth, and make them pay their fair share. It's not good for a society when a parasitic elite is able to live a life of luxury while the average worker, pensioner or student struggles to make ends meet.
00:42 February 2, 2010 by Beavis
Very simplistic view of taxation... If you decrease taxes there will be less tax money to spend? Wrong!!! Are we talking income tax, corporation tax, import/export taxwhat tax?

If you decrease income tax, it means that companies have more money to hire staff, increase their wages and take on more people. The more people employed on higher wages the higher the gross tax income. Basic economics guys.

Dont forget the greens will introdude carbon tax mania, forget about owning a car or driving it anywhere near a city. Expect huge loss of employment in already collapsing motor industry, expect the travel indusrty to make huge losses. Just look at what happened in Irealnd wit the Green/Finna FAil party in Ireland, if the Green-Reds get in it will be exactly the same. The taxes are high enogh as it is! Any higher taxation and Sweden is no longer competitive with the rest of Europe!FACT!
02:36 February 2, 2010 by Qassim
Whose election is it anyway? On behalf of the Invandrare I would like to raise a question on how those with the intention to increase the job opportunities in Sweden are of the opinion that even Invandrare should be equally employed, not after the Swedes are fixed. Think of a researcher, journalist, political analyst and economist still remain in the joblessness list for three years! And after a long trial, they made a better approach to their future jobs in working at the Elderboende or at the Dagis or forskola. What on earth is the job think on the election theme anyway for the Invandrare communities that are always treated badly when it comes to the job opportunities?
09:17 February 2, 2010 by Skåneräv
Everyone who earns more than 372100kr a year already pays more tax than those who earn less, similarly, if you earn more than 545 200kr a year then you pay even more tax.

So for the amount a person earns over 372100kr a year they are already paying slightly over 50% of that away in taxes. Those earning over 545100kr are paying over 55% of that additional income away in taxes.

So for the comment, "the richest half or so of the population should be expected to pay a bit more" they already do. Now we are being told that if the socio-communists get in power those people should be made to pay even more than they currently do.

I can agree that people who earn a lot should pay a bit more (and no I don't fall into the brackets above) but there has to be a limit. When you pay more than 50% of that money away in taxes its no surprise if people lose the motivation to work hard and try to make something in life. There really is no point when its taken from you anyway.
10:46 February 2, 2010 by gumbi
I agree with beavis that lowering taxes will result in companies expanding their base in Sweden and not only maintaining sales offices here !

The rich should be taxed ! but not to a limit that demotivate people to work harder , innovate and spread more money .

I see taxing rick as just a way to make money so that it can be redistributed to poor ! but how about motivating them to invest more ,thereby, eventually benefiting poor / jobless but they dont get easy money by staying at home but working !
18:36 February 2, 2010 by StuartM
I meant they should be taxed more heavily than they are at present. 55% income tax is not nearly enough in my view if a society wants to significantly reduce the gap between rich and poor and have enough money to have decent public services and welfare programmes for all who need them.

It is simply nonsense economics to think you can both slash taxes and increase revenues at the same time. It certainly didn't work in America under Bush who lumbered the country with the biggest deficit in human history. And the taxes Reinfeldt slashed has not translated into increased revenues, rather it's meant huge cutbacks in schools, hospitals and other public services.
20:35 February 2, 2010 by Beavis
Stuart M suggest you go live in N Korea youd love it there. everyone is treated equal and everyone has a job with fck all pay. It sounds like your paradise.. why dont you move?
00:19 February 3, 2010 by StuartM
Why would I want to live in a totalitarian hellhole like North Korea where all power and wealth is in the hands of a tiny elite centred around the ruling party? Clearly Scandinavian social-democracy has been far more successful at building a better, fairer, and more democratic society than any communist or Stalinist system has which is why it is so disappointing to see fools like Reinfeldt come and tear it all apart. It's also disappointing when certain sections of the Socialdemokraterna increasingly abandon the radical legacy of people like Olof Palme who was genuinely and strongly committed to building a different type of society. The best way to shift a future Mona Sahlin lead government to the left is, in my view, to vote for the Vänsterpartiet.
11:28 February 3, 2010 by Beynch
@StuartM: ....all the power and wealth is in the hands of a tiny elited centered around the ruling Party.." Souns like you're describing OP's vision of a Marxist(OP did'ny call it that but he meant it) Sweden. It is in Sweden's best interest to ensure that the Social Democrats, and the rest of the useless, leftist trash are permanently eviscerated from any ruling role in Sweden. Keep Sweden free. Defeat the Left in 2010!
16:26 February 3, 2010 by Beavis
"Why would I want to live in a totalitarian hellhole like North Korea where all power and wealth is in the hands of a tiny elite centred around the ruling party"

And you think the bag woman will be any different!! Give us a break her salary will be 20 times higher than yours.. Go and read 1984 will you.

In your "ideal" society everyone is equally poor (apart from those elected) I dont want to be poor and its because of fools that vote for bag lady that we will all end up that way or emigrating away from Sweden
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