Swedish Central Bank Lowers Interest Rate to -0.5 Percent

The Swedish central bank, Riksbank, lowered the interest rate to -0.5% at 09:30 this morning (local time). Stefan Ingves,  governor of the Swedish central bank, presented his new record-low interest rate from the Governor House in Stockholm. The interest rate was lowered to -0.5 percent from the previous -0.35 percent.

Usually when central banks lower interest rates, the market rebounds, but the Swedish stock market index, OMX30, dropped another 1% immediately after the announcement, landing around -3.0%, where it’s hovering now. With the OMX30 at -13% for the year, and a looming housing bubble about to pop, it appears that the Swedish central bank is out of ammo.

Swedish Housing Bubble
Compare the current housing bubble in Sweden to the 1990s bubble. Then consider that the world’s second-highest taxed population with a government that is hostile towards business is undergoing a stock market crash and a refugee crisis, and you have a recipe for pain and disaster.

Swedish Central Bank Lowers Interest Rate to Zero

Stefan IngvesAt 9.30 this morning, the Swedish central bank, Riksbank, lowered the interest rate to 0%. Stefan Ingves,  governor of the Swedish central bank,  presented his new record-low interest rate from the Governor House in Stockholm. The interest rate was lowered to 0 percent from the previous  0.25 percent.

Sweden is often hailed as a socialist paradise, but obviously something is gravely wrong when 0% interest rates are required to keep the nation afloat. Not only are Swedes burdened with the highest taxes in the world, they are also drowning in personal debt, and they are facing an enormous housing bubble that is busting at the seams. Maybe Ingves’ zero-percent policy can kick the can a little further, but what comes after that?

Obama vs The Danish Prime Minister in Sweden

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt

The Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, intends to question Barack Obama about NSA spying on the European Union when they meet at a dinner on Wednesday in Stockholm, Sweden. The Prime Minister of Sweden, Fredrik Reinfeldt, has invited his Nordic colleagues to meet with Obama during his visit to Stockholm.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt has previously described the NSA spying situation as “grave.” “We have always supported the EU in its efforts to demand answers from the Americans, and the EU expects answers. Of course, I will also mention this to President Obama,” the Danish Prime Minister said.

There is more growl than bite from the Prime Minister, however, as she also plans to show her support for invading Syria. Is anyone surprised? Helle Thorning-Schmidt will declare their support for a U.S. military action in Syria when the Nordic Heads of State and Government to meet Obama at a working dinner in Stockholm tonight. “I can explain face-to-face our approach to Syria for President Obama. We will tell the Americans that they have a very close ally here that they can count on,” she said. However, she will not promise any military aid from Denmark, because the government has not taken a position on this. “It’s focused solely on political, diplomatic backing to highlight that we should not tolerate that al-Assad has used chemical weapons against its own people,” she said. Apparently the jury is in; Assad is guilty. Just like WMDs in Iraq, no doubt.

Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, has previously said, like a true coward, that the Swedish government does not intend to discuss surveillance during Obama’s visit to Sweden. He argues that “internet surveillance is everywhere in the world.” So I guess that makes it okay in Bildt’s eyes. Why not stop fighting crime while we’re at it, since it’s everywhere in the world too? You may remember Carl Bildt for his indifference to genocide in Bosnia, and if memory serves, he was also the Bush-supporting, bumbling UN inspector prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Swedish N*gger Chocolate Balls

I doubt anything will happen as result of Thorning-Schmidt’s questioning over the NSA. And I expect Swedish media and politicians to faun over Obama just as they do in America, which is ironic because Swedes are the most racist bunch I’ve ever met. In fact they have a popular dessert that the Swedes call “n*gger balls.” They look like chocolate balls to be, but the Swedes prefer the racist name. I wonder if they’ll be served to Obama at dinner tonight.

The Failure of Socialized Health Care in Sweden

This anecdotal article demonstrates not only the failure of socialized health care in Sweden, but also how its enormous price tag devastates the economies of average Swedes.

I’m a Texan who has been living in Sweden for 15 years. When I first moved here–before 9-11, before my awakening, I was a neocon.  I spent a lot of time debating people, in real life and on the Internet, about the pitfalls of socialism and socialized medicine.  It was my hobby, and I was good at it.  I mention this because I know from experience what it’s really like over here.  When Obama makes his sales pitch about how great health care works over here, I know he’s wrong- dead wrong.

Case in point: Meet Björn Hansen.  Björn is 50 years old and has paid taxes like a dutiful Swede his entire career.  So how much does that amount to?  A recent report by one of Sweden’s largest banks shows that the government takes 68% of the average Swede’s income every month.  Of course, if you make more than average, the government takes even more.  In exchange for being 68% tax slave, Swede’s are promised “free” health care.

A simple search reveals that Björn earns more money than 77.72% of his fellow citizens.

Björn makes more than 77.72% of all Swedes.

Wow, he must be pretty well off in the top 25% wage bracket!  Actually no. Although I can’t determine Mr Hansen’s exact income, I do know someone who earns about 50K USD (before taxes), which is more than 86.71% of all Swedes.  This is the cost of “free” health care and all the other empty promises of the welfare state: mediocre wages for everyone.

Björn has been suffering from a large herniated varicose vein on his leg, which causes great pain, making it hard to work as a pipe-layer and hard to sleep at night.  But that’s no problem for socialized health care in Sweden, right?  Wrong. When he went to the local hospital for help, he was denied care.  The doctor claimed that his case wasn’t severe enough to treat, so he would have to pay for it out-of-pocket at a private clinic.  However, in spite of earning more than 77% of all Swedes, Björn can’t afford the operation, which would cost 23,000 SEK ($3,547).

So after decades of tax slavery, Björn Hansen is denied the benefits he has been promised his entire life, and because of his extreme tax burden, he is unable to afford a private alternative.