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Archive for June, 2011

Author: S R Larson (presentation)

Before Sverigedemokraterna (the Swedish Democrats) won seats in the Swedish national parliament in September last year there was not a critical word uttered in the Riksdag about Sweden’s immigration policy. Today the situation is different: SD politicians take every opportunity to challenge the reckless open-borders policies imposed by the political elite. The first reaction from that elite was to expand an already excessively generous immigration policy to invite even more immigrants from far-away corners of the world. Though this might have been expected (I personally did not think they would have the audacity) it is nevertheless refreshing to see that the SD challenge is not going unnoticed by the elite.

The fact of the matter is that the SD challenge has come at the very last moment: the open borders policy has overwhelmed Sweden with immigration of a size and character that begs the question if the prime minister actually knows what he is doing. The official motive for allowing massive immigration is that Sweden is in desperate need of workforce immigration. Presumably, the retirement of the baby boomers born in the 1940s leaves so many open spots on the labor market that native Swedes cannot possibly fill them. Therefore, the story goes, Sweden needs to invite as many marginally educated Somalis and Afghans as possible.

The flaws in this argument are so many that it is surprising it is still being used. To begin with, the 1940s generation has been retiring for about eight years already. The average retirement age in Sweden has been hovering around 62-63 for a long time, which means that of almost one million 40s boomers, some 700,000 have already retired. Any student of the Swedish economy knows that this has not caused any massive shortage of labor at all. On the contrary, over the past ten years the employment rate of the Swedish work force has actually dropped from 67 percent to 64 percent. A larger share of the work force is without a job today than during the Millennium recession, despite the baby boomer generation’s retirement.

It is easy to see why this drop in employment has taken place. In an economy that creates 60,000 new jobs per year in good economic times, the employment rate cannot rise if there is also a large net immigration taking place. Over the past ten years immigration has increased from 60,000 per year to 100,000. During the same time, according to Statistics Sweden migration data, emigration has risen from 33,000 to 48,000 resulting in a significant growth in net migration: ten years ago immigration exceeded emigration by 27,000 people. Today net immigration exceeds 52,000 per year, with a record high of 63,000 in 2009.

These numbers should be considered in view of Sweden’s population of only nine million. To make matters worse, there is a persistent education gap between people leaving and coming to Sweden. Very few immigrants have a high school degree, while the average emigrant has at least a BA university degree.

It is obvious that the arithmetic of Sweden’s immigration policy is working against the best interests of the Swedish people and the Swedish economy. Exporting educated workers and importing uneducated people is bad enough; importing two uneducated workers for everyone who leaves is directly irresponsible. Who is going to pay for the education of these immigrants? If Sweden really had an insatiable need for workforce immigration, then how come the 30 countries within the EU and the Nordic region cannot satisfy that need? Why would Sweden have to rely on the remotest – geographically, culturally and socially – corners of the world to fill its workforce need, provided such a need existed? (Which, again, it does not.)

A couple of factoids from Eurostat, the statistics agency of the EU, further underscore how out-of-control irresponsible this immigration policy actually is. Sweden is Europe’s second-largest recipient of immigrants – in absolute numbers – from the least-developed nations in the world. Only Britain takes in more least-developed immigrants, and its rationale lies in its commonwealth past. Furthermore, in 2007 this small nation, with less than three percent of the EU population, took in 16 percent of all asylum seekers absorbed by the EU. No other EU country accepted a larger share than Sweden.

The asylum-driven inflow is steadfastly growing. Apparently, Sweden has made a name for itself as having open borders: from 2007 to 2010 the number of asylum seekers coming to Sweden increased by 50 percent, with a 32-percent increase from 2009 to 2010 alone.

There is no way to motivate Sweden’s immigration madness, no matter how you slice immigration and labor market statistics. The country has opened its borders, lowered the bar for immigrants with questionable documentation and made its welfare state available even to those who are denied immigration or asylum. The challenge from the Swedish Democrats came in the nick of time. The question is: will it make a difference in the nick of time?

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Sweden’s National Day is over. The 6 June was changed from The Swedish Flag’s Day into the National Day in 1985. From 2005 the day is also a public holiday. But since nationalism is such a taboo in Sweden, this very day has been transformed into a riotous display of multiculture. The non-public TV-channel TV4 launches its yearly “Zero-racism week”. Stockholm City Museum celebrates the day with an intensive exhibition of Somali culture: a Swedish-Somali celebration. An excerpt of the program of the day:

In the northern town Sandviken, the celebration of the National Day is still in the sign of multiculturalism. Last year people could listen to and watch Arab and Kurdish music. This year people also can enjoy Finnish, Norwegian and African songs. A Facebook group protesting against these shameless things got 600 members before it vanished.

The largest Swedish Tabloid Aftonbladet published this photomontage and declared, ”Today we celebrate multiplicity – not stupidity”.

Stockholm’s National old homestead museum “Skansen” advertises its Midsummer celebration with the following image:

A few days after the National Day, we have another recurrent tradition very much questioned today: the breaking-up from the school term. Earlier, before the politicians decided that Sweden was to be a multicultural society, most schools went to church as a formal and ceremonial way of finalizing the pupils’ year.

Even though there is no longer a State church since 2000, the tradition at the end of the school term has lived on. Cowardly headmasters and school administrators now put and end to this tradition, where some of them uphold that our immigrated minorities can feel offended by Swedish traditions.

In Uppsala, a vice-headmaster even prohibited the pupils from singing the National Anthem. She said it could be “offensive”.

This was just a sample of how authorities, organizations and media altogether hijack Sweden bit after bit, in order to brainwash people that there has never been any particular Swedish culture. “This is Swedish. A mixture”, according to our Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt in 2009. The oikophobia in all its glory.

And if it is so important to celebrate all different cultures’ singularities in order not to offend immigrants, why not introduce a separate Multicultural Day?

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Author: S R Larson (presentation)

When I was politically active back in the ’80s I learned that if Swedish politicians are given two alternative courses of action to choose between, they will, as if driven by a force of nature, always choose the dumbest alternative. This learning experience has helped me understand Sweden’s slow but steady decline over the past 20 years, but it has also been a source of frustration. This habit of always making things worse for the people of my native country has recently been inherited by a new generation of politicians. My old friends and political combatants are now part of the political elite – and making the exact same mistakes as their predecessors.

The previous generation of politicians, who were mostly born in the ’30s and 40s, made every mistake possible in the economic arena. They raised taxes to world-record levels, then, as the economy started suffocating from those taxes, designed a tax reform which only led to a further growth in the tax burden. When the welfare state began crumbling in the ’80s they started cutting spending but kept taxes at world-record levels. This resulted in a constant drainage of resources from the free sector of the economy, resulting in a permanent decline in employment and standard of living. Instead of reversing course and re-opening income insurance, health care and education to private funding they pressed ahead and did everything they could to preserve the unsustainable welfare state.

Once they had devalued Sweden from a prosperous world leader to a nation plagued by industrial poverty, they decided to take their country yet another step down the slope of Dante’s journey. Instead of a responsible immigration policy that would allow productive migration across the nation’s borders, the political elite opted for a maximized inflow of migrants. And it was not about getting immigrants with skills, education and ready-to-go professional skills. No, the typical immigrant to Sweden over the past ten years has been someone with very little education, rudimentary professional skills and an extremely long way to go before he can begin to function as a productive member of society.
In the meantime, Sweden has suffered a brain drain. The education gap between the country’s inbound and outbound migrants is startling: the average person leaving Sweden has at least a bachelor’s degree. And the exodus has not been insignificant: in Norway alone some 50,000 young Swedes are building themselves a future. It is unlikely that they will ever return home again.

But the mistakes that Sweden’s political elite have turned into their very own religion has not stopped at replacing an entire generation of educated and culturally skilled Swedes with immigrants from the rural corners of Africa’s Horn. The most recent contribution is likely to turn the country into an economic swamp of poverty and social disintegration. Mr. Goran Hagglund, minister of social affairs and responsible for Sweden’s socialized health care system, announced yesterday that the government will remove the last restrictions on who the tax-paid hospitals can offer health care. The purported purpose is to allow illegal immigrants to access health care on the same terms as lawful, tax-paying residents.

It is easy to see what this is going to lead to. Sweden already has one of the most heavily rationed health care systems in the industrialized world. Waiting lists for elective surgery are extremely long, the number of beds per 1,000 residents is even lower than in Albania, and the death rate from curable conditions due to health care rationing are appalling. Even a marginal increase in demand for health care as a result of this free-for-all opening of the health care system, will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Since 1995 Sweden’s government-run health care system has cut away about one fifth of its medical staff. During the same period of time the actual tax burden on working Swedes has increased almost 50 percent: those who pay taxes are a notably smaller share of the population than they were before the recession in the early ’90s. With this lopsided change in who pays taxes into the health care system and the size of the “production facilities” – hospitals – about the worst thing you can do is to open the doors and let anyone from anywhere walk in to a Swedish hospital and demand health care. Which is precisely what the government has now done.

Mr. Hagglund tries to defend the indefensible by claiming that there is no research from anywhere in the world that shows that a free-for-all health care system will result in “medical tourism”. But this is a classic moot point: no one has ever done what Sweden just did. Even the ridiculous measures in Arizona and California that allowed Mexicans to walk across the border to get Medicaid-paid health care came with some restrictions. (After Medicaid in Arizona was driven to the brink of bankruptcy the state actually reversed course, something Mr. Hagglund seems to be blissfully ignorant of.)

Since it is unlikely that Sweden’s political elite will learn from their own mistakes – or others’ – we can safely expect them to make the next mistake soon. The question is: what will it be? For each new mad move to tear the country apart they leave fewer and fewer options ahead of them. One possibility is that they open the country’s income security system to illegal immigrants, i.e., everyone and anyone in the world. Another is that they give illegals the right to vote in elections.

Absurd? Sure, but keep in mind: we are not talking about a normal country. We are talking about Absurdistan.

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