Saturday, November 18, 2017

Social Contract in Sweden

Richie Rich Bitch

Leif Östling, chair of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Sweden's largest business federation)
Svenskt Näringslivs ordförande Leif Östling

"What the hell do I get for my tax payments?"
"Vad fan får jag för pengarna?"

If you've paid all that wealth, why not pay in full and do the right thing for all you have in Sweden? 
Om man nu har betalat all den där skatten, varför inte betala helt och hållet och göra rätt för sig i Sverige för precis allt man har?
- No; Why should I? This is the structure now - it's allowed & all right.
 – Nej, varför då? Nu finns den här strukturen där, och då får den ligga där.

What does 'society' mean if each individual only looks out for their own best interests?
Vad betyder det för samhället om varje individ bara ser till sitt eget bästa i den här frågan?
- Yes, there's always egoism in everything. Anyone paying 20-30 million kronor per year asks himself:  What the hell do I get for the money?
 – Ja det finns ju alltid en egoism i det hela. Man frågar sig också, betalar man in 20-30 miljoner om året, vad fan får jag för pengarna?

You mean you get nothing for the money? 
Får du inget för pengarna menar du?
- Not much.
 – Inte mycket.


Leif Östling, the chairman of Sweden's largest business federation, the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt näringsliv), ended up in hot water after the leak revealed he kept German stocks worth 30 million kronor ($3.56 million) in a company on Malta. 

He insisted it was all above board, and is not suspected of any legal wrongdoings, but was forced to backtrack on Monday after controversial comments he made in an interview with SVT on Sunday:
"It's a problem with the Swedish tax system, the taxes are insanely high in this country. (…) You ask yourself: If you pay 20-30 million kronor a year – what the hell do I get for the money?"

It is famously said that Sweden has some of the highest tax rates in the world. The cliché is that Swedes all happily pay their taxes, safe in the knowledge that the public services they receive in exchange will be of a good standard, and Östling's comments caused quite the stir, with the hashtag #whatthehelldoiget (#vadfanfårjag) trending on Twitter on Sunday evening.

"#whatthehelldoiget? Live in the world's best country, paid parental leave, free university education, free healthcare, pension, a better society," suggested self-described left-wing Twittter user André Mattsson.

"Shameless (comments) against teachers, nurses and police who make sure the country is working while you make money," tweeted the minister for health and social affairs, Annika Strandhäll.

"I think this is bad and morally wrong," Liberal Party representative Mats Persson told SVT.

The youth wing of the Social Democrats demanded Östling's resignation. "His actions, devoid of principles, go against everything the Swedish model stands for. It is not appropriate as the leader of Sweden's largest organization of employers," wrote chairman Philip Botström in a statement.

Östling backtracked on some of his comments in an official statement on Monday, saying he had spoken as a private individual, not as the head of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.  "During the conversation I said, among other things, that I do not get 'a lot' for the taxes I pay in Sweden. It was carelessly expressed. Sweden has a generally functioning welfare system. What I was trying to say was that I personally had used it very little compared to my financial contribution to it," he said, pointing out that although he had invested some of his money abroad, he had also paid 84 million kronor in income tax and 23 million kronor in capital gains tax in Sweden over the last seven years.