Swedish Welfare State Cracking?Are we seeing some major cracks in the Swedish welfare state, with its 25% real unemployment rate? If so, what happens when it collapses? Isn't it likely that this will trigger a flood of "welfare tourists" to neighboring countries? Given that Finland is beyond political correctness and hardly accepts any immigration at all, and that Denmark is increasingly fed up, the weakest link among Sweden's neighbors is Norway. We share a very long border with Sweden, which is among the least protected borders in the world. Our significant oil wealth and naive politics make us an attractive destination. How are we going to respond to tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people suddenly moving here? This question hasn't even been asked, much less debated, by a single political leader in this country:
Persson: new state jobs will fix unemployment
High unemployment in Sweden will be tackled by creating more public sector jobs, even if that means breaking the government’sspending limits. That was the message from Göran Persson, Swedish prime minister, in a speech in Björkvik on Sunday. The jobs will be targeted mainly at young people and the long-term unemployed. They will be given jobs in government agencies, mainly doing desk jobs or looking after old people. Some of the jobs will be new, while others will be created by replacing exisiting employees who retire. Proposals that were highlighted by Persson included using the long-term unemployed to “help old people to hang curtains,” while some of the younger recruits could be employed to investigate benefits fraud. This was condemned as populistic by public service union.
Sweden aims to halve sick leave
Sweden is struggling to pay the bills for the tens of thousands of workers on long-term disability and an expanding group of young people leaving the workforce altogether on so-called "early retirement." "Twenty-five percent of early retirees today are under 55. This is a huge problem ... When you retire at the age of 55 that's one thing, but if you retire at 30, it's going to cost society a lot of money," Odmark said. According to a report in Swedish daily Aftonbladet last June, a 35-year-old on early retirement can cost the state five million kronor by the time he or she reaches the official retirement age of 65. Quoting official numbers, the paper said that 500,000 people are on early retirement in Sweden today, 68,000 of whom are between the ages of 20 and 40. By the time the entire half million early retirees turn 65, Sweden will have dished out a whopping 700 billion kronor in compensation. There are many theories on why the country, with its cradle-to-grave health coverage, is facing such a large sick-leave problem, with many observers insisting that Swedes are in fact no sicker than other Europeans. "If the sick-leave levels in Sweden really were an indicator of how sick we are, we would be facing a plague here," Thorslund said.