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Swedes: Poor

2002-05-05 20:37:48+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

Next time some socialist apologist breaks out the "Northern Europeans have it right" whine, you might want to point them towards current numbers: Via the newly returned Lake Effect (Welcome back, Dan!) Study discovers Swedes are less well-off than the poorest Americans:

STOCKHOLM - Swedes, usually perceived in Europe as a comfortable, middle class lot, are poorer than African Americans, the most economically- deprived group in the United States, a Swedish study showed yesterday.

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-05-06 01:29:02+00 by: dexev

I'm inclined to call bullshit on that article. From what I can tell, they took a look at GDP and related income/spending data, and extrapolated from there. I'd be interested in seeing comparative data on personal savings/debt, housing and food costs, average commute, meals/week eaten at home, et cetera.

In other words, I think it's entirely possible (and probable) that a society could have the same standard of living as we do with considerably less per capita spending.

#Comment made: 2002-05-06 02:26:00+00 by: Dori

I'm not calling BS (yet), but I'd like to hear more details about how they calculated health insurance spending. I know what we pay monthly for 3 people (two self-employed adults + 1 child), and it's no small amount.

A Swedish family could make considerably less than we do but come out ahead, just based on health insurance alone.

#Comment made: 2002-05-06 18:21:05+00 by: sethg

The study compared median household income before taxes[Wiki]. But if Sweden has a steeply progressive income tax (I think that's a safe bet), then the taxes paid by rich Swedes will help cover the college-education, mass-transit, and health-insurance costs of the median-income Swedes. Most working-class Americans don't have that benefit.

#Comment made: 2002-05-06 18:34:02+00 by: Dan Lyke

It is, after all, the retail trade lobby, which would be pushing for policies which encourage more consumer disposable income and consumer choice. So yeah, of course it's not going to count any government services as income. But also of note:

International Monetary Fund data from 2001 show that U.S. GDP per capita in dollar terms was 56 percent higher than in Sweden, while in 1980, Swedish GDP per capita was 20 percent higher.

#Comment made: 2002-05-06 21:01:49+00 by: Dan Lyke

Oh, lest anyone take my comment too seriously: I object to socialism on principle, I'm sure that results on the pragmatism of such can and have been cooked either way, and, as in most cases involving statistics quoted from Sweden, these numbers are screaming "cooked".