Monday, September 18, 2006

Attack on the European Welfare State?

The New York Times is reporting today on the defeat of the Swedish Social Democrats party in their country's recent elections. Replacing them will be the new "Moderates," a political group to the right of the current administration.

The Moderate party ran on a platform of correcting unemployment, which, counting those on government assistance programs, is near 21%.

An example of the welfare state:

Magnus Rosander, a 44-year-old computer engineer who said he had a nervous breakdown after losing his job four years ago and had not worked since, said he had voted for the Social Democrats and was worried about what would happen under the Moderates.

“I’m dependent on social welfare,” Mr. Rosander said outside a subway station in central Stockholm. “If Fredrik Reinfeldt wins, we will get less money and he will force me to work even though my doctor says I’m not ready yet.”

Indeed. And in Sweden's current model, unemployed workers for similar reasons receive 80% of their former salaries.

The voters of Sweden have turned the tables. Will this be a new trend?

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