Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Election watch: Jobs? Yes! Emancipate!!!

I spent last night re-watching the documentary about Clinton’s campaign in 1992, “The War Room”, with a very good friend. Just in order to get fired up and then think about what is going on in the Swedish election campaign right now. It worked. This is what I feel.

Everyone to the right of center, as expected, criticized the Social Democratic Party’s election manifesto heavily. It was criticized to an extent where it almost became ridiculous. Swedish media reflected this criticism, and it is easy to transform what you hear into your own opinion. We end up in a situation in which most people -- even Social Democrats -- agree that the election manifesto totally lacks ideas about the creation of new jobs.

Are you also about to swallow this bait, provided to you by a shoal of big, rich right-wing fish? Before you swallow, and conclude that there are no jobs in the manifesto, read this checklist.

1. Read the manifesto yourself! Maybe you should start there. At least: read an analysis about last week that is tilted leftwards as well (you have mine here and here).

2. At least, read this summary! If you don’t have time to read it, here are some of the job-creating proposals you will find in the manifesto: One percent of GDP to research and development (that’s a world record, folks); more resources to research in small companies, but also to research in relation major industries; a new type of loans and more venture capital to entrepreneurs who are about to start up; a new commitment with the tourist industry; new initiatives to increase exports by local firms around Sweden; promote foreign direct investments in our country; increase the number of students in colleges and universities; increase the number of students in vocational training; invest heavily in all different forms of techniques that will give us green jobs and sustainable development. For example.

And then I haven’t even mentioned all the reforms in the public sector that we won’t start implementing now since the economy is steaming hot and we don’t want to cause inflation. But these reforms will give public sector jobs and come in handy when the economy most probably will slow down in a couple of years. Good thinking, huh?!

3. It's an ideological difference, stupid! Don’t forget that most people are complaining because the manifesto does not contain the only solution they love and believe in: tax cuts. But hey, here is an ideological difference. We don’t believe that lower taxes and worse conditions for the sick, elderly, unemployed and those on parental leave create new jobs. Don’t forget that.

4. And what about their tax cuts? The right-wing alliance proposes more than one hundred billion Swedish kronor in tax cuts, and they have only financed roughly half of that. This would leave Sweden’s state budget in disarray, and then Sweden will have to loan money. Inevitably, interest rates will go up. And then… most people will lose, especially young people in new houses.

5. And what about their "job-creating ideas"? The right-wing alliance wants less generous safety nets, weaker trade unions, and lower compensations when you are unemployed. They also propose a lot of subsidies in order to create low-paying jobs in the service sector. This will put a pressure downwards on wages, which will not only hurt people with small margins in life, but also companies who have Swedes (employed, unemployed, or in-between) as customers. And then… almost all people lose.

Just because we progressives don’t believe lower taxes is the only way to create new jobs, does not mean there are no new jobs in our manifesto. There is an ideological difference here, and the shoal of big, rich right-wing fish is not on our side.

Solution: Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. Do some thinking on your own. None but ourselves can free our minds.


Blogger Håkan said...

I have read it. 1% of GDP to research is excellent - and the same as the opposition suggested earlier this year. But that's not going to bring the unemployment down very fast, is it?

Apart from that - there are no real ideas on job creation in the manifesto. The details you mention won't do the trick. The left party at least suggests 200 000 new public jobs. Totally unrealistic and rediculous, yes, but it's more than the standard phrase "we want more jobs".

If the manifesto were the right recipe, why do we have unemployment in the first place? And don't come with the standard 90's crisis, your party has had 12 years to get things going.

Something to discuss the next time we meet!

22/8/06 12:13  
Blogger Eric Sundström said...

Yes, we will discuss it for sure, Håkan! I agree we have been the ruling party for a looong time, but a lot of jobs are coming now. Record levels, according to SCB today... (see new blog-entry above)

22/8/06 13:15  

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