Some days ago the tabloids announced, in letter sizes reserved for wars and sex scandals, the glorious advent of lowered income tax. This is the second reduction in since this regime came to power.
Two days later my morning paper screamed ‘the counties are bankrupt’. For those of you who aren’t swedish citizens this means there are no more money for the health care centres or the hospitals. The hospitals in my county no longer accept referrals for orthopaedic conditions, meaning people with bad hips or feet or backs will have to manage on their own.
I am amazed that no one, not even the political opposition, has made the connection – lowered taxes = less money in the public coffers.
For most people the lowered tax rates means 100 SEK, or US$12, or UK£8.90, or €9.30, more in the wallet a month.
The argument is, of course, that people are intelligent and should be trusted with their own money. They should be granted the right to decide their own priorities. So. Do you want to buy an appendectomy or food this next year? Because those 100 SEK a month, 1200 SEK a year, will not suffice to pay for it.
The result is a society were only the well off will have their ailments treated, be it corrective surgery (as just now when my son had his tonsils removed, to treat his speech impediment) or of a more immediate character (like needing a hip replacement). The effects will be severe. The majority will have to live with their ailments and illnesses. They will be able to work less, and will earn even less money. The difference, the rift, if you will, between the classes will grow. Growing rifts often means instability. On a societal level, this is not preferable.
In the meantime the children and the old will have to pay a high price.
In harsh times people look out for themselves. So right now not enough people have realised this is not a win situation. Will they ever?
I’m not optimistic… Partly because there is no real political opposition to this particular trend – they all want this to happen, it seems.