Destinations Magazine

Sweden’s Election: The Eight-year Itch

By Stizzard
Sweden’s election: The eight-year itch

FOR a decade Sweden could plausibly claim to be Europe’s most successful economy. Anders Borg, the (formerly pony-tailed) centre-right finance minister since 2006, likes to trot out numbers for his time in office: GDP growth of 12.6%, a rise in gross disposable incomes of almost 20%, a budget moving into surplus and a public debt barely above 40% of GDP. These figures not only outshine Britain and the euro zone; they also eclipse America.The government’s achievements go deeper still. It has overturned Sweden’s old image as a high-tax, high-spending Socialist nirvana. Twenty years ago public spending took an eye-watering 68% of GDP; today the figure is heading to 50% (see chart). Although the tax burden remains high by international standards, top rates have been cut, as have corporate taxes. Taxes on gifts, inheritance, wealth and most property have been scrapped. Few Swedes need now to flee into tax exile.

Sweden’s election: The eight-year itch

Yet the voters seem ungrateful…

The Economist: Europe


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