Friday, November 26, 2010

Swedish Politics 101 - The Moderates

For the last four years, the Moderates have been at the helm of the Swedish government. And not so long ago, they won the Swedish public's vote of approval for another term. So who are they and what do they want?

The Moderates are led by current prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. And they are about as right wing as you get in Sweden – politcally. So if we compare to the American model, the Moderates are the Republicans of Swedish government. Except that, in Sweden, even the Moderates fall far left of any American party.

Although I am pretty sure in his own head, Reinfeldt would like to be able to see himself as a Swedish Ronald Reagan, in truth, Barak Obama looks more like Reagan than Reinfeldt. Basically, the Moderates seem to support some type of less interfering, smaller government, lower taxes, less spending, etc. The problem is, this is Sweden.

But let's take a look at some of the policies the Moderates have passed in the last four years. It should give you a sense of where they stand. 

  • Sold the government owned portion of Absolut vodka (quite a controversial move – as Absolut is a cash cow for the Swedish government)
  • Demonopolized Apoteket – the nationally controlled pharmacy in Sweden
  • No more property tax – only a max payment of 6,000 sek per year to the county (depending on value of home) (Yes, New Jersey, there is no property tax in Sweden!)
  • Reduced unemployment benefits (so now several states in the US offer better unemployment)
  • Reduced sick leave benefits – limited time on sick leave

The list goes on, but I think the above indicates a bit about what the party is about anyway. 

And not to make things TOO confusing, but here in Sweden the right wing is represented by the blue color, and the left wing by the red. Remember the Commies are the reds.

Oh, and did you notice that bit about no property tax – and still getting all those crazy socialist benefits?

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