Political Economy


Heavy weight political debate in Swedish television -  Social Democrats Löfven vs Conservative Reinfeldt

Monday, 16 September 2013
It is just less than a year left before the general election in Sweden, and a few minutes ago, completed a debate between the head of government, Fredrik Reinfeldt and the head of the opposition, Stefan Löfven. The debate was dominated by the economy, taxes, unemployment, education, welfare and the direction of Sweden.

The debate had a unique characteristic in that there were no participation of the other smaller party leaders, in what has been described as a pound for pound political bout and it was the first time in the Swedish political scene where Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Prime Minister, and head of the Conservative Moderate party and Stefan Löfven, head of the Social Democrat Party had a face-to-face debate live on TV.
Stefan Löfven vs Fredrik Reinfeldt
Stefan Löfven vs Fredrik Reinfeldt / image Swedish TV
Fredrik Reinfeldt starts by defending his persistent tax cuts especially the fifth earned income tax credit, a tax cut that cost Skr12 billion, and which also increased the tax threshold to  Skr36 000.

As Stefan Löfven was talking about the importance of investing in the future of the country instead of lowering taxes especially by borrowed money for that, the Premier shot back and boasted that "we are using the strong Swedish economy, we do what we promised and to make a broad groups of workers to have more money in your wallet while you want to expand the benefits system."

"Are you happy, Fredrik Reinfeldt? " asks Stefan Löfven, referring to the growing unemployment and youth unemployment that is getting out of control and that the government was borrowing money to fund an  inefficient and costly tax cuts. 

"You have to see the fact, unemployment is higher than when you took office. Long-term unemployment is higher than when you took office, youth unemployment is higher than when you took office, and you stand here and seems quite happy, said Stefan Löfven.

"I have read these reports, they do not reflect what  Stefan Löfven describes. They say a higher take home pay when you work brings more jobs. It is perhaps the most effective way to create more jobs available, said Fredrik Reinfeldt.
Stefan Löfven vs Fredrik Reinfeldt
Stefan Löfven vs Fredrik Reinfeldt in head of party debate/ Svt TV

He went on to day that "You talk about energy, but it is creating any job. How long should we wait?"
According to Löfven, Sweden need to be forward thinking in the global economy. For this it requires "us to have a demand in the private sector and it is only if companies can recruit, and thus we must have an educated workforce."

"We are committed to the school, we will give all children a real chance to go through school, and it requires investment," said Stefan Löfven. You will never afford, Fredrik Reinfeldt, to both reduce taxes and invest in school.

Fredrik Reinfeldt heckled the Social Democrats leader that he, and his party are now rooting against keeping the fifth-work tax credit. He told Löfvens to promise not to tear it up the policy at a change of government next year. As most right wing politician are doing these day, Fredrik Reinfeldt could not explain how the new tax cuts will affect the high earners.

"It's a little placard politics, but today we have seen that you do not want to give tax cuts for those earning over Skr36,000, "said Reinfeldt, referring to the opposition's speech to the parliament trying to stop the rising threshold for the state income tax.
He also wondered what the leader of the Social democrats government alternative is, and how it will look like.

Fredrik Reinfeldt should be careful when it comes to talking about government alternative, counter Löfven and refers to both the Christian Democrats and the Centre Party teetering on the verge of parliament collapse according to opinion polls.

The fact remains that neither the government nor the Social Democrats' budget options are quite clear on the table. Although part of the government's budget to be presented on Wednesday is already, out. Part of it held for example, held the  government's proposal for a fifth earned income tax credit, a proposal which Stefan Löfven criticized.

By Scancomark.com Team

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