Well, it’s time to talk politics again!
I don’t know how much you readers know about Swedish politics, but here’s a brief history lesson:
For the past 100 years or so, Sweden has been mostly left-oriented on the political scale. Power to the people, leave nobody behind, that sort of thing. Once in a while, the right-wing gets elected for a 4-year term, sometimes they even get 2 4-year terms in a row, and during those years, they do everything to shift Sweden from a tax-heavy country to one where the open market roams free.
That comes to a cost thou, and that is the people!
All those taxes weren’t there to make the politicians rich, it went back to the people in the form of world-leading schools, free healthcare for everyone, controlled pharamcies and social care. After just a year after they got elected, the Moderates (Moderaterna), Sweden’s leading right-wing party, removed all of that and shifted the market towards the upper and middle classes in the form of tax deductions. One of the most famous and most failed implementations they did was the dreaded Phase 3, where people who have been unemployed for more than 450 days will be forced into labouring in companies that gets money for taking them in. The workers themselves has to work full-time (in Sweden, that is 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week) with no pay and no contract.
This is bad, not only because of the obvious (that they are basically government-appointed slaves), but also because it gives workers a negative value on the market. Imagine yourself being an employer and you have the choice between a hard worker that wants 3000£/month, proper equipment and security or 2, 4, 8 or any number you want of forced workers that gives YOU 500£/month each with no strings attached. Which would you choose?
Up until now, there has been countless reports on employers breaking the rules by having Phase 3-workers performing the same tasks as regular employees can do, but now the Moderates have taken care of that: by rewriting the rules so that they now can do the things that regular employees can do.
Phase 3 was meant to help long-term unemployed back on the market, but since its implementation 6 years ago, only 10% of the over 34 000 that each year gets sent into that phase gets another job, only about 10% of those gets a job that pays enough for them to survive on. That is 340 out of 34 000 people per year that gets a regular job, instead of the earlier systems 90%.
What was the earlier system?
To let the unemployed stay at home to look for work, with encouragement in the form of free courses, contacts in job-searching circles and extensions on their unemployment security so that they didn’t have to worry about loosing their house or where to get the next meal from.
You tell me, does this sound like a fair deal to you?