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Social Democrats seek apology over Sahlin slur

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 27 Apr 2010, 15:33

Published: 27 Apr 2010 07:59 GMT+02:00
Updated: 27 Apr 2010 15:33 GMT+02:00

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Östros was enraged by the language used by the minister when criticizing the left-green opposition's pledge to spend an extra 12 billion kronor ($1.67 billion) over two years on schools, health and care services.

"It's pure Toblerone politics. You charge it on your credit card and then send the bill to the Swedish people," Odell said. The minister, a Christian Democrat, was referring to the 1995 "Toblerone affair" when it emerged that current Social Democrat party leader Mona Sahlin had purchased goods and services for private use on her ministerial credit card. The scandal led to Sahlin taking a three-year time out from politics.

The scandal ruled Sahlin out of the battle to succeed Ingvar Carlsson as party leader, paving the way for Göran Persson to take over, a post he held until Sahlin assumed the role after the 2006 general election defeat.

"I demand an apology from Mats Odell. He's talking like the Christian right in the United States. This is no way t behave, he should be ashamed of himself," said Östros.

"This is a serious infringement which has no place in Swedish politics. This is the start of a dirty election campaign of the likes of which we have not seen since the Cossack election," Östros said, referring to the 1928 Swedish general election which carried a notoriously harsh tone and negative campaigning on both sides.

The opposition on Tuesday announced plans to allocate 12 billion kronor above government budgeted spending on schools, health and care services over two years, a pledge that the government has been quick to criticise.

"They propose new billions by the day. They are going to expand national debt and taxes for companies and people, which will in turn hit tax revenues for municipalities and harm welfare services in the longer term," Mats Odell said.

In laying out their proposal in an opinion article in the Svenska Dagbladet daily on Tuesday, the opposition parties underlined their view that public services must take priority over tax cuts.

"We left-greens want to invest in a development which creates greater freedom for society and the individual. For that we need strong public finances. Our priority is crystal clear: Welfare must be prioritised over the new major tax cuts," the four opposition party leaders - Mona Sahlin, Peter Eriksson, Maria Wetterstrand and Lars Ohly - wrote in the Svenska Dagbladet daily on Tuesday.

The coalition projects that their investment "will create 10,000 to 15,000 more jobs within welfare services in local municipalities and counties".

The four party leaders furthermore directed criticism at the centre-right government for having "seriously weakened possibilities to plan staff expenditures" in the municipal sector with its management of state funding.

Story continues below…

Last autumn's budget saw an additional 17 billion kronor earmarked for the municipal sector in a bid to stave off rising unemployment. Included in the sum was a new, permanent, 5 billion kronor increase in the state's annual payout to the country's 290 municipalities.

The government has since observed a stabilization in the sector, with the municipal labour market showing a marked improvement in the months since the announcement of the 2010 bonus and has thus pared this sum back by 12 billion kronor.

But Odell claimed that despite the withdrawal of the funds allocated in the autumn 2009 budget, state support for local government has increased by 26 billion kronor over the mandate period.

"It is at record levels in a historic perspective," Odell said.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:44 April 27, 2010 by miss79
agree..sweden is not like asia where they can open a companies 24 hours a day
09:42 April 27, 2010 by Newyork-Växjö
I hope they do not create more lazy people who depends on wale fare money.

Wale fare supports creates more lazy people and creates more depression.

But I love the medical parts. it should be free for anywhere in the world.


In the whole Scandinavia could be 25 million living... but if you pick one Asia city they would hit the record. Asia needs to be open at nights because there is more population and more demands small and big business. billions of people living there They must be open to supply them the goods :)
09:46 April 27, 2010 by hpunlimited
10.000-15.000 people making coffee at government offices. GREAT! Who is going to pay for it?

The socialists, greens and commies, will have to pull my wallet from my dead cold hands before that happens!
09:58 April 27, 2010 by Elton John
Where will this money come from? The private sector, of course! This will have no other effect than chasing companies and workers out of the country!

This just makes me angry. I'm glad I'll be able to work in better countries the rest of my life. But don't worry, dear Sweden, I'll be back. More specifically, I'll be back when I'm 65 years and want my minimum pension and other free things.

"We left-greens want to invest in a development which creates greater freedom for society and the individual."

With higher taxes and more regulations? What commie-Ohly wants is everything but freedom.
10:55 April 27, 2010 by miss79
true newyork-växjo..not only population that counts but weather here are so different than asia..
11:48 April 27, 2010 by Beavis
Where is this money come from. Has bag woman dscovered how to grow money trees? Its true shes going to need extra money for all the extra people who will be on welfare after she ups the taxes.

"Welfare must be prioritised over the new major tax cuts". Moronic!
12:25 April 27, 2010 by Swedesmith
Look out wallets, government fingers are poised to pry out more cash!
12:48 April 27, 2010 by karex
The magical solution to all the world's ills according to socialism: increase taxes. People misbehave,increase taxes. We are in a recession and people lost jobs, increase taxes. People smoke too much, increase taxes. People drive too many cars, increase taxes, etc...

They have finally openly admitted what I have been saying all along: that in their eyes the sole purpose of tax money is to generate more jobs in the government for the beauocrats, to adinistrate all the paperwork behind the social services. But if you need the social services, then you have to pay extra - those are usually not included. When they increase taxes once more to provide the services, somehow it gets funneled into creating more useless jobs and there is never enough left for the services...

How about an administrative reform - across the board? I'll bet they would find a lot of money hiding around behind useless jobs.
13:11 April 27, 2010 by Puffin
Seeing what is happening at the moment in rural schools facing 33% cuts over the next 2 years - and health services outside the major cities I would prefer better education and healthcare to the latest round of tax cuts
13:18 April 27, 2010 by Audrian
There is a myth that Sweden is heaven for social welfare. This is not true. Norway, Finland, Austria and Switzerland, to mention a few, give much better social benefits to their residents than Sweden does.

I think Sweden should learn one or two things from inequitable societies like the US, where the state cares more for the rich than it does for the rest of society. In the US the rich one percent pays less tax than the middle and working classes. There is more than 5% of the population that is permanently unemployed and who is not seen by the employment radar.

The health care reform that is being implemented by the present US government would leave out more than 15 million Americans uncovered. If Sweden starts ignoring its poor section of its society, the security of the rest of the citizenry can not be guaranteed. In societies where income disparity is serious, the rich live in barbed wires and CCTV and yet they occasionally get kidnapped or killed. In short they loose their freedom!

This is what a further shrinking of the state has in store for Sweden. An effective education and provision of job opportunities can promote economic growth and prevents social ills if it carefully planned.
13:55 April 27, 2010 by cbeynch
Pass the barf bag! This is but another pornographically transparent attempt by the left to enhance `income redistribution`. It is yet another attempt, and election pork, to take money from those of us who actually contribute to society, and distribute to those who don't. This is not the time to spread the hips of, palmeesque, socialist bureaucrats' already fattened behinds. It seems the social democrats, and their gumbahs the communists, are hard wired into a tax-and-spend `bidrags` mentality with a national cry for more government. They should be taught to understand that to move Sweden forward she must reduce spending, not increase it. Sweden needs less government, not more. Force these lazy union fatcats to contribute some to their own retirement. Force the useless unionized do-nothings and their senseless sinecures to contribute to their own health insurance benefits. Crush the Mona cabal in September in a seismic election defeat! Their class warfare` has outserved its usefulness. Delegate them to a painful footnote in history and we can all burst into song and celebrate.
14:18 April 27, 2010 by comfortably_numb
Agree with Audrian...it has to be done right though and not sure if the opposition is really up for it
14:37 April 27, 2010 by hpunlimited
Mona Sahlin = Use the credit card to buy votes and let the hard working taxpayers pay the bill.

Keep the Redgreen fingers out of my wallet!!
15:27 April 27, 2010 by Great Scott
Most of the above comments make me laugh, the pathetic use of commies and leftist just goes to show the level of education here.

Many ask where is the money coming from, I expect its coming from the pockets of those who stole it from the tax payer in the first place (meaning tax cuts to suit the well off). I don't live in Sweden nor do I pretend to know about Sweden, but I have read very much about the build up of one of the most admired systems in the world.

This system was put in place before most of you even thought about going to Sweden, they avoided systems as such in the USA where most things are private, cost a fortune, with no real benefits, and designed for only the well off, a country where only 10% prosper and the rest left in the gutters to defend for themselves.

If taxes should be cut, then the cuts should be made in immigration (meaning people from other countries who have the privilege of living in Sweden), not health care, education and care services.

Criticising expenditure on a country's requirements shows only incompetents, when such a good system is in place it should only be improved and not make to suit the greedy few. In the UK Thatcher made cuts in these three areas and things just got worse, it is not very easy to turn things around when such changes are made.

Now what would be said if the truth was the fascist right were making cuts to feather their own nests, what does surprise me however, is how do normal people get fooled by them every time, doesn't that make you laugh.
15:57 April 27, 2010 by glamelixir
@Great Scott Thank you so much for explaining all this people.

I say: those of you who want to live the way USA lives move there, but ohhh nononono, don't come back for your minimum pension, just stay there and ask their super right governments to give you health care.

Nobody really wants to be unemployed and on welfare, it is unfortunatly something that is increasing because of the same liberal policies that want to privatize and cut taxes. Get real! Many of us have seen this happening around the world.

Segmenting societies in rich and poor only leads to insecurity and crime. Do you really want that? do you have any idea how that is? I prefer them to take 10% more of my salary, which in Sweden will be more than enough to live and enjoy a charter holiday, than getting that 10% and investing it in private schools, private health and a body guard.

16:18 April 27, 2010 by Angusthefirst
God there is so many neo conservative right-wingers who seem to read and comment in this paper! Tax is not a dirty word here in Sweden like it is where I am from and it is refreshing to hear that a political party is actually going into an election saying they are going to INCREASE public spending instead of the usual tweedle-dum-tweedle dee drivel thrown up due to the system we have in many English speaking countries where the left have moved so far right that BOTH parties are arguing over who will cut taxes more: ridiculous!

The favourite thing for me moving here is that taxed money, while a little higher than where I'm from, is actually used for good and means, for instance, I can take public transport everywhere and save on having a car, don't need health insurance so save on that, don't need to send my kids to a private school or university: again save on that. You more than make up for what tax you pay here and things like public transport just work better because of the higher taxes. A win-win for me, I love it here and save way more money than in my "low tax" homeland.

If some of the above posters had their way Sweden would turn into another USA with huge gaps between rich and poor, need for private health, need to pay for university etc. A question to all the above posters: why would Sweden, looking at what sort of country they have developed into now based on a high tax policy, want to adopt a US style low tax policy when they compare the two societies? And another question, why are you posters still advocating a "greed is good, tax is bad" mantra when this line of thought was the main reason we had such a terrible crisis recently due to our greedy banks? You can't rely on your ridiculous "commie/lefty" rhetoric. You fools need to look at your own flawed philosophy as well and try and learn from mistakes there instead of throwing around such childish insults that don't mean anything.

Some people have no idea.
16:27 April 27, 2010 by glamelixir
@ Angusthefirst Thank you, it is such a relief to know that there is still people like you. Hope we are many moe, and hope all the others move to the State so they can also be happy getting what they want.
16:55 April 27, 2010 by hpunlimited
The socialists and commies in Sweden are notorious for "hiding" unemployment in the government sector. They just create meaningless jobs so it looks like there is no unemployment. Or like in this case, build a worthless high speed railroad so the unemployed have something fun to do. And who pays the bill? Me and you!

Keep the redgreen fingers out of my wallet! And no high speed railroad in my backyard!!!
17:28 April 27, 2010 by calebian22
I don't see why Odell's comment is so out of line that it needs an apology. Sahlin has proven herself untrustworthy with taxpayer money by buying and concealing items for personal use in the past. Most politicians are liars and hypocrites to begin with so Odell probably should be careful, but reminding the sheeple about past indiscretions of political opponents is just good politics. Sahlin is just throwing a tantrum.
18:12 April 27, 2010 by Stockholmpatch
gotta love a plan that proposes to raise taxes, hire even more people into the public sector....it worked like a charm for Greece.
21:57 April 27, 2010 by CanYouDigIt
Education is the best way to fight poverty crime, and drug abuse.

There are many newcomers who are refugees from a different education system. The costs multiply and new strategies to create inclusion are needed which is another cost compounder.

Without the added spending today, it will be felt 10 times over in crime, disease, welfare and hate.

Spend the money and get rid of the hate.
22:39 April 27, 2010 by Beavis
Laughing at the fools who thinks increased taxation = more money for public spending!

The tax rate is ALREADY high. A higher tax will mean that small businesses can no longer afford to employ people and be forced to let them go, therfore dramatically decreasing the overall tax income. And again, bag woman and co refuse to say where increased taxes are coming from.. is it increased income tax, increased import tax? What tax EXACTLY are they going to increase?
22:45 April 27, 2010 by krdx
@glamelixir, @ Angusthefirst nice to have people like you here. Come on guys, you see how USA is trying to be like Sweden, how dare you ask us to be like USA? You are afraid to go to doctors because of the bills! I know here, most of the commenters have no value about world, and sweden, what tax money goes for. Here, in sweden, we are proud to pay taxes. I lived in another country, paid 25% tax from my salary and extra taxes for the things that I bought but I did get nothing return. Public transportation, traffic, medical care system,education, every thing were terrible! beggers on the streets, In sweden, I pay 29% tax and extra taxes for the things that I pay but I get great things in return. We feel the security of love. Very very few people who lives on social money here, don't be prejudger. Here we know, people, in some how in need, will get benefit from my tax and incase I am in need, I will get it. It is good values that we share. Yes, there are bad people who abuse the system, which does not prove system is BAD. The reality is: Capitalism proved how BAD system is it, for several times, causing lost of fortunes, lives, Sweden is NOT communist country, it is capitalist country with high level social welfare (which is being abolished current goverment). And, no one just makes coffee at public/ or goverment offices and does not work here- Please, keep your bad attitudes for yourself. If you think people abuse the system, then u are the one who is thinking to abuse. But if you know power of sharing and being rich all together, you wold see why sweden has SO much nobel prizes, best brands, companies..Just an example: The best softphone is skype.com, which is swedish, acquired by ebay, they could not manage to make money from it and now its founder bought it back (for the lower price!) and skype became better now. Mona Sahlin did use the card by mistake and as soon as she noticed she paid money back, and even she paid back, before someone found about it, she did respectful behaviour to resign. Just tell me one, JUST ONE liar who resigned after Iraqi war when it was proven that Mass destruction weapends did not , had never existed in iraq? and please compare the harm of two before you dare to talk about here!
00:32 April 28, 2010 by Frobobbles
I did not know that the christian right talked about Toblerone. You learn something new every day in Sweden.
03:05 April 28, 2010 by Greg in Canada
As I understand this - this is about something that dates from 1995. When was that - last Tuesday?

It amazes me on these forums how many people sound off on their own agendas not related to the original topic.
05:49 April 28, 2010 by Rick Methven
What really makes me laugh is the far right Americans such as Beynch who have no say in the outcome of the election. complaining about the Swedish system. They will never have any effect on the outcome of the election, Sweden will NEVER become a tax haven for rich parasites.

You guys have 2 options.

1. STFU and live with it

2. If you can not live with it LEAVE
07:55 April 28, 2010 by proteasome
"You charge it on your credit card and then send the bill to the Swedish people"

If that is too strong of a comment for Swedish politics the system is broken. Considering the Greek monetary crisis where too much goes out and too little goes into the system I am all for tough comments to make sure the system can afford ones election promises. I am all for better schools and benefits just make sure everyone agrees to pay for it.
07:55 April 28, 2010 by Essingen
Entirely agree with the comments from Calebian22. It may not be convenient or pleasant for Salin to be reminded about events some 15 years ago, but that is politics. Actually the analogy is quite good.
09:15 April 28, 2010 by calebian22
Anyone interested in a laugh watch the John Stewart clip below. At about 6.5 minutes in, sitting next too Toppington von Monacle, is Mona's doppelganger with a bad dye job. It made me laugh anyway.

10:16 April 28, 2010 by Angusthefirst
@ Beavis

Why would you be laughing at those who think increase tax will mean an increase in public spending? Historical evidence shows that Sweden spends tax money properly instead of ridiculous English speaking countries who tax quite highly but then make you, the individual, shell out personally for hospitals, all forms of education, unsafe and non-punctual transport.... the list goes on. I don't get why you would have a problem with paying tax in Sweden: YOU ACTUALLY GET SOMETHING FROM IT! In English speaking countries you pay almost as high tax as Sweden but get nothing to show for it. What don't you get about that?

If these guys (the green/left) are promising to increase public spending (remember the sitting alliance cut a lot in comparison) why wouldn't we believe them? They have a sound tradition in spending tax-money wisely which has, in turn been a huge reason why Sweden is a country that punches way above its weight in pretty much every field/industry. If tax really was, as you and the other neo/conservative zero tax zealots that lurk on these pages claim, Sweden would be a basket-case of a country where no work got done, no companies thrived and no other countries would do business with. The opposite is true though and the sad thing is that it annoys the heck out of those of you who blindly follow the "tax is bad" philosophy. Sweden dispoves your theory.
10:44 April 28, 2010 by stenhuggaren

You law out your points very clearly and concisely - in this forum that it is a breath of fresh air.

There is more than two choices on offer. I am also satisfied with public services in Sweden and the taxes levied to pay for it.

But, we already pay the second highest taxes in the world, and the red-greens approach is that those that oppose further tax hikes are greedy and selfish - which is just ridiculous.

There simply is not a lot of scope left to raise taxes in Sweden before the very tax base begins to be eroded - with the most vulnerable in society the most likely to pay.

Cheap healthcare and daycare are great but making them a couple of SEK cheaper does nothing to provide the dignity of work for an excessive chunk of the labour force that is excluded from the market by high labour and social taxes and regulatory obstacles.
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