TT interviewed Mikael Damberg on the train to Norrköping – his first trip to the country among ordinary people in his new position as finance minister.
He took over from Magdalena Anderson as Prime Minister, and at a time he criticized many left-wing Social Democrats for abandoning many of their ideals in the wake of past years’ collaboration with C and L.
Trinidad and Tobago: Economic Gaps, is this an important issue for you?
– It is absolutely central, because it relates to the lives of ordinary people. Can you pay the rent? Do you have a job to go to? Can you afford to go on vacation? Damberg says it is a social democracy in a sense, small continuous improvements in the lives of ordinary people.
Many of the S measures in power in recent years have been around lifting the bottom, and supporting the less affluent. But on the other extreme, over several years the wealthy were able to see their fortunes erode further, so the gaps increased instead during the 2000s, even when the S was in power, according to official statistics. It was the tax cuts on capital and the policy of low interest rates that caused real estate and stock prices to rise.
TT: You only raised subsidies for the weak, you do nothing to raise taxes on the rich?
Parliament, it was more difficult. We even had to agree in the January deal to the liberals’ big demands for a defense tax cut.
Damberg thinks time is talking about more left-wing politics. He seems to see a growing debate in society, both in Sweden and internationally, about higher taxes for the wealthy in order to reduce the gaps.
– So before the elections now, wouldn’t it be reasonable then to argue that those with higher incomes also participate and contribute more to welfare? I think this is completely reasonable.
But so far not much of it has been seen. Prior to the S-Congress, a report was released that pointed out potential tax increases for the wealthy, such as the millionaire tax and tax increases at the expense of the ISK for those with greater wealth.
Trinidad and Tobago: Where did the proposals go, and why did they disappear?
– This report has not disappeared at all. It was a toolbox that was introduced to increase equality.
– Some of these issues are still included, such as more severe taxation of high-income people, the exact form of it, whether it is a millionaire tax we go to the polls or not, we will return to that in the electoral manifesto.
Trinidad and Tobago: Is the property tax dead?
We don’t pay property tax, there are other ways to reach the highest income without starting a new discussion about property taxes.
TT: But is it fair that a homeowner in Groms pays the same property tax as he does in Djursholm?
– but it was the bourgeois construction of the property tax that made it so, but we do not intend to start a discussion of the property tax. Let me be really honest, we lost two choices on this issue, and we don’t intend to lose another election on this issue.
There is only a short time left until the elections, and it is unlikely that many hot issues will end up on the government table, Michael Damberg believes. There will come a time when each side will want to brand itself and not cooperate too much. However, there was decent agreement regarding the economic consequences of the pandemic. On the agenda, renewed support for the business community may become relevant once again.
Although Damberg does not currently believe it will be necessary to reintroduce short-term support. He imagines that the government and the Riksdag will benefit more from vaccine requirements rather than tougher measures as happened previously in the pandemic, which would then not have to hurt businesses as much. However, adjustment support can be used, it is easier to release it again and also covers wage costs just like short-term support.
So there may be more progress on the action plan if we need to get it operational. We are already seeing that some sectors are indicating that they have been hit hard. We have Christmas schedules to take a very concrete example, we have cross-border trade with Norway, so there are sectors that are already starting to indicate the need for some form of adjustment support, Damberg says.
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