Petterson told the Swedish daily paper Expressen that she had no desire to go to a psychologist but was persuaded to do so by the unemployment agency. The psychologist gave her a number of tests that she found stressful and humiliating, such as building objects with wooden blocks. To her surprise the psychologist said that Petterson should be classified as disabled since she wasn't good enough at mathematics. Jessica was shocked to hear this: "I might not be a math genius, but I know how to count," she told the paper.[...]
The unemployment agency explained that it was simply a matter of changing a code in her status as unemployed. If she agreed to be classified as mentally disabled she would be entitled to a range of government subsidies and programs. In fact, she could begin working at "Samhall" - a government project aimed at providing employment for the disabled. There she could get a job cleaning and building wheelchairs.
"I felt the panic spreading in my body," she said. "Samhall is intended for the truly disabled who could never get another job. Could I really work there? A place that might mean a lot for a handicapped person - but that would be a giant leap backwards in my development and self-respect."
Alarmingly, what happened to Petterson is not an isolated incident in Sweden. The state unemployment agency is constantly attempting to force people to "admit" to being disabled. Today 19.3 percent of those seeking jobs at the unemployment office are being classified as disabled.So this is how that model liberal paradise has been propped up. If people can't find jobs in the private sector because it has been ravaged by liberal policies they are classified as mentals so they can get a public useless job. This is exactly what communists in my old country did. Everybody had a job no matter how idiotic because communists wanted to prove to the West that there was no unemployment in the communist "market" system.
Stockholm University professor Mikael Holmqvist, who has done research on the subject of Samhall's workers, believes that most of these people are in fact not disabled at all. They have been lured or threatened into agreeing to become classified as such. The reason for this is simply that if you are disabled you are removed from the statistics of open unemployment, something that the current Social Democratic government greatly appreciates.
One of the world's most consistently successful political parties, the Social Democrats have governed Sweden alone or in coalitions for 65 of the past 74 years. The party's defeat reflects a feeling not only that Mr. Persson has become complacent in office, but also that Sweden's celebrated social welfare model, with its high tax rate and generous benefits, has encouraged too many people to stay out of work for too long.The only mistakes Swedish liberal made was not having produced 50+% "unemployment" the way the American lefties want 50+% people in the US to stop paying any taxes.
To outsiders, the rejection may even appear puzzling because the Swedish economy is humming along at its fastest annual economic growth rate in six years - 5.6 percent. With low inflation and interest rates, and strong productivity gains, the economy appears to be as safe and secure as a Volvo.
But Fredrik Reinfeldt, who will be the country's next prime minister, sounded the alarm in his campaign - one which apparently resonated with Swedes, and, hopefully, will have a similar effect on European social- welfare countries in far worse shape.
Mr. Reinfeldt, who leads a conservative-turned-centrist party called the Moderates, is worried about Sweden's long-term ability to compete, especially in the global marketplace.
Of particular concern is joblessness. On the surface, it looks pretty good - around 6 percent. But pull back that golden teak veneer and it's rough underneath. A study by the McKinsey Global Institute puts real unemployment at closer to 16 percent. That's because the government doesn't count people on sick leave, in training programs, in early retirement, or students who are studying only because they can't find work.
The Swedish model of high income taxes in exchange for a plethora of social services was workable when it was dreamed up in the 1930s. Unlike other European states, Sweden's history wasn't marked by feudalism, and Swedes had a trusting relationship with a state whose civil servants were efficient. Theirs was a small, homogenous, and well-educated population with a strong work ethic. A social pact between people and state could work, and it did, until succeeding generations became too reliant on the "nanny" state and businesses too restricted by it.
Reinfeldt cites a lack of new jobs. Sweden has created almost no net-private sector jobs since 1950, according to Magnus Henrekson of the Research Institute of Industrial Economics. Thirty percent of Swedes are employed by the government. Small businesses suffer from restrictive regulation and labor rules.
To stimulate job growth, Reinfeldt and his coalition partners plan to halve payroll taxes for employers hiring long-term jobless youths and sell off government stakes in such businesses as telecommunications and airlines. He wants to further deregulate, a move that pulled Sweden out of an economic crisis in the 1990s. And to lure people to work, he plans to reduce generous jobless benefits and cut income taxes for the poor.
Reinfeldt describes these steps as tinkering, because Swedes still love their model. And much about it has paid off, especially investment in education and R&D. But the model, as is, won't hold up to globalization, an aging population, and immigration pressures. Swedes seem willing to face this. Can the rest of Europe?
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