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Red-Greens split over revamped wealth tax

TT/The Local · 28 Aug 2010, 10:46

Published: 28 Aug 2010 10:46 GMT+02:00

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The three parties have agreed in theory to generate four billion kronor ($540 million) for the state coffers through the resurrection of a wealth tax abolished by the current government in 2008.

The Social Democrats favour a relatively mild approach, whereas the Left Party wants the rich to be taxed on every krona, and the Green Party remains sceptical of the tax.

Speaking at a televised debate on Thursday, Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin said:

"Anyone who is interested can look at the Social Democrats' proposal, which contains methods for how to set both a floor and a ceiling. It will be a reasonable level of taxation."

By introducing an upper limit, the Social Democrats' proposal means Sweden's wealthiest residents will avoid paying tax on their entire fortunes, a move the party believes will prevent the wealth tax from hampering growth.

But Left Party leader Lars Ohly remains opposed to a compromise solution

"It's reasonable to expect the wealthiest people to contribute with their entire fortune as a basis [for taxation]. Growth is better served by investments in risk capital for small companies," he told news agency TT.

Story continues below…

The Green Party is opposed to a wealth tax in principle but has reluctantly agreed to support its partners in a potential coalition government. The party's economic police spokeswoman Mikaela Valterson said she hoped further negotiations would steer the triumvirate away from the Social Democrat model, though for different reasons than Lars Ohly.

"One of the problems with a wealth tax is that capital disappears from the country and a ceiling is not going to solve that," she said.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:11 August 28, 2010 by calebian22
Big waddle Mona is sportin'. Gobble, gobble.
12:20 August 28, 2010 by reason
The Greens have it right on this one. Taxing wealth scares away more money than it generates.
16:01 August 28, 2010 by here for the summer
why is anyone talking to this left party. Seems they want Sweden to be Russia or China in 1950 and everyone knows how successful that was.
23:56 August 28, 2010 by porksteak
"If at first you don't succeed, use more duct tape"

-Red Green
02:48 August 29, 2010 by Larry Thrash
Greed, greed and more greed, why are leftist so greedy and self centered? The wealthy have already paid taxes on their wealth. The greedy leftist are never happy until have taken by force all money of those who have earned it.
09:50 August 29, 2010 by procrustes
The Greens should be finding a way to team up with the Moderates--they need balance from the left and Green issues are really non-political. What gets political about Green issues is implementation methodology.

As far as the wealth tax and wealthy paying their fair share, in Sweden every krona is taxed, retaxed and taxed again. The fact that anyone can be categorized as wealthy is amazing. What should be taxed is inheritance. Rich kids do little for society while people who create wealth literally build society.

The Left wish to tax "wealthy" seems to be more about envy than sound government policy.
09:55 August 29, 2010 by markusd
This seems to be the eternal problem for the left. How do you steal as many golden eggs from the goose as you can without killing it (or causing it to fly away)? I guess it would be unreasonable to expect someone to create their own wealth since when you can just vote in politicians who will take other people's wealth for you.
13:55 August 29, 2010 by Kevin Harris
Nice to know the red/greens have thought these things through in advance, so they won't get in the way when they win next month and are governing Sweden.

It would be awful if they hadn't already agreed on such basic, but important policy. People might think they are totally unprepared for government. Heaven forbid.
17:43 August 29, 2010 by here for the summer
I guess all native Swedes knew but I was amazed to find out the left party is the communist party with new name. Why is it that Sweden Democrats are called the "Far Right" while this Communist party is allowed to be called the left party ? If they are not "Far Left" I wonder who is beyond them ? Isn't this slanting the news.

21:25 August 30, 2010 by samwise
what is the moral basis to specifically tax the rich? can't be just because they have more wealth.
07:49 August 31, 2010 by flintis
@ samwise: It's Socialist/Communist morals =

work hard earn money be penalised.

go to work lay about get same money as above person.

got to work become union rep do absolutely nothing & get same wages as above 2 plus perks

go on social,work "black", drive new mercedes, party in Stureplan, deal in illegal objects, pay no taxes.
11:38 August 31, 2010 by shivering
The assertion that the wealthy 'work hard' for their wealth is misleading.

Most wealth Is inherited; the recipients of such wealth did nothing more but be born into it.

OTOH, those who have actually toiled to achieve their wealth or property do not deserve any extra taxation than what all must pay. That being said, one should be taxed by one's ability to pay (a sliding or progressive taxation scale which increases with income/wealth). If one wishes to be a part of a society then one must share; society is a community/communal endeavor (and I do not mean 'communist'). If one does not wish to pay taxes or function as part of a community then one should attempt to find an area/country which has no such requirements.

Of course, a parallel issue to all this is what the wealthy actually produce and what is its value in relation to what other workers produce.
12:17 August 31, 2010 by samwise
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." - Karl Marx

It sounds pretty good, if we are all angels. Actually some angels fall as well.

Taxation is backed by government force, sharing your possessions requires a willing heart. These two things usually are not on the same page.

I absolutely want people's mercy and generosity when I'm in trouble, but I don't think I'm entitled to share whatever they have.
12:31 August 31, 2010 by flintis
Funny how the only true Communist society is the nation of ANTS

Soviet Russia was not a good example of communism it was a two tier society those that had power or fame & the rest.

@shivering: I never mentioned "the wealthy" & I take wealth to mean a damn sight more than just money, wealth has also to do with the quality of life & family happiness. Do not have to be "rich" with money for that!
13:23 August 31, 2010 by shivering
@samwise: It is because we are not angels that we have government and laws; what we can do collectively exceeds what we can do individually. And as I previously stated a society is a collective endeavor; by pooling our resources and talents we can achieve much more than we can alone. This includes survival.

If one wishes to enjoy the fruits of living in a society one must also contribute to said society's well-being; the most direct way being through payment of taxes. Those who benefit more (income and property), pay more. Those of great income do not achieve such a state solely by their own hands, they benefit from a society and system that all have made. If one wants change, vote and speak out....or find a place more amenable to one's own sensibilities. Or not. Choice is still possible.

One hopes that people are more important than money. Capitalism is not a system of government, it is a method or system of exchange.

@flintis: I was not referring directly to your post, but was referring to the wealthy (in terms of personal income and property) as a sub-section of the population. I apologise for not clearly defining what I meant by 'wealth' or 'wealthy'.

To everyone: please pardon my idealism. Do not be offended.
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