Thursday, November 23, 2017

Closet Nazi Gets Smoked: Swedish business boss steps down in 'what do I get for my taxes' row

Caught in a Strangelovian spasm
Leif Östling, the chairman of Sweden's largest business federation, the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt näringsliv), announced his resignation on Wednesday.

The global Paradise Papers leak revealed earlier this month that Östling kept German stocks worth 30 million kronor ($3.56 million) in a company based in Malta. While not suspected of any legal wrongdoing, he ended up in hot water specifically after controversial comments he made defending his financial planning:

"It's a problem with the Swedish tax system, the taxes are insanely high in this country. (…) You ask yourself: If you pay 20-30 million kronor a year – what the hell do I get for the money?" he told public broadcaster SVT.

It is famously said that Sweden has some of the highest tax rates in the world (although it depends on how much you earn), with the cliché being that Swedes happily pay up, safe in the knowledge that the public services they receive in exchange will be of a good standard.

The cliché seemed to hold true as Östling's comments were heavily criticized by trade unions and politicians on both sides of the political aisle. He apologized and admitted that he had expressed himself "carelessly".  (more...)


The reality that is Sweden:

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