Wingnuts Suddenly Love Sweden

Wingnuts Suddenly Love Sweden October 3, 2012

The Worldnutdaily has an amusing article about how Switzerland and Sweden are bucking the trends in Europe, with low debt and relatively low unemployment while the rest of the region is swimming in public debt and struggling with slow economies and sluggish job growth.

As headlines continue to trumpet the economic tsunami swamping much of Europe, there are at least two countries that are weathering the storm better than the rest: Switzerland and Sweden.

Experts told WND that there are several reasons why the Swiss and Swedish economies are doing so well relative to the European Union: economic freedom, national currencies, work ethic, and more.

Other governments could learn something.

The largely free Swiss economy is performing the best by far, but even Sweden, after a decade of market reforms, is doing very well compared to the rest of Europe. Both economies are still growing even as the eurozone contracts.

Anyone remember when the standard right wing story on Sweden was that it was a socialist hellhole with extraordinarily high taxes that destroyed the work ethic and routinely pushed people to commit suicide? Now suddenly they’re claiming that Sweden is an example for other governments. So let’s take a look at some of the issues they talk about here:

Low debt: Maybe they have a relatively low public debt because they have one of the highest effective tax rates in the world, which means they actually pay for the government programs that conservatives hate so much.

Economic Freedom: Sweden actually ranks below the United States on the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index, and they’re actually trending down (becoming less economically free, by the standards they use) rather than up.

National currencies: This actually does matter, and it’s accurate. Neither Sweden nor Switzerland use the euro, which means they have avoided most of the underlying problems behind the European economic crisis.

Work ethic. Workers in both Sweden and Switzerland work fewer hours annually than those in the United States (1644 and 1632, respectively, vs 1787 in the U.S.).

And then there are the contradictions in the article. Near the top they say:

In Switzerland, the unemployment rate is hovering at about 2.7 percent. Sweden, even with its nightmarish regulatory regime over the labor market, has a stable unemployment level of about 7 percent.

While at the bottom it says:

Despite a large government with high taxes and spending, Sweden has strong respect for property rights, low levels of corruption, an efficient regulatory system and open-market policies that contribute to large flows of trade and investment, Heritage explained.

So there are two countries, one with low taxes and a high degree of “economic freedom” (by the standards of their own source, the Heritage Foundation), and the other with high taxes and a relatively low degree of “economic freedom.” So what exactly are other countries to learn from them? The lessons that the Worldnutdaily want them to learn, even if the facts don’t support it.

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