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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

"There Is Definitely Something Strange Going On" In Sweden

"There Is Definitely Something Strange Going On" In Sweden

"In 1990 non-European immigrants accounted for only 3% of the population and any problems could be isolated and managed within the bigger framework of society. That figure has increased to some 13-14% now, and is growing at perhaps 1-2 percentage points from last year, with persistent gaps in income, unemployment and education. It’s really a question of scale rather than degree of divisions.

You still have a sizeable number of Iranians, Iraqis, Bosnians and the like who are well integrated, dress like any westerner, speak fluent Swedish and openly talk to anyone. That group is even bigger than in 1990. But there is another group which is living in a ghetto and who does not speak Swedish all that well, does not feel a part of society, is unemployed and so on. And that group has increased rapidly. When it reaches a certain size it starts to influence everything around it – like schools, social spaces and so forth...

I like to look at things like gaps in employment, income and school results. If we start with the first one, in the age group 20-64 82% of native born Swedes are employed compared to only 58% of immigrants. That is a huge gap right there. It has remained constant going back to 2000, and even slightly increased compared to 1990.

We see the same thing happening with income, in that immigrants on average earn 40% less than the natives, which is also worse than in 1990. And if you look at school results, you find a massive gap yet again: 9% of the natives don’t qualify to go to high-school after 9th grade, compared to around 30% for those of immigrant origin.

So you have these major gaps that have been very persistent over time and rank among the highest in the developed world. If you look at the employment gap, it is the highest in the OECD, and because the group keeps growing as a percentage of total the problem for society becomes bigger and bigger...

You could see a very strong “white flight” from towns that are becoming dominated by immigrants.

Research shows that the tipping point for that flight to occur is very low: after 4% of non-European immigrants the native Swedes start to move out. This is arguably an even worse segregation problem than in the US. At the same time, there is a fascinating study that shows that if you ask the average Swede if it is important to live in a multicultural neighborhood most of them say yes. Actually, the ones who moved away from those neighborhoods are even more likely to respond positively...

Last quarter we had 3.9% GDP growth on an annualized basis. That’s not particularly impressive when you consider that we had 1.4% official population growth and we probably had another 1.4% from refugees that have not been accounted for yet. If you look at these numbers since 2006, Sweden has had close to zero GDP growth in per capita terms, maybe 0.6% per year on average. That’s not at all impressive when compared to the historical average.

At the same time we have seen a massive increase in household debt which has to be paid back at some point. To give you a sense people say that we have the second most indebted households in the OECD. That’s a big number.

Sweden used to have very strong state finances... we went from having fiscal surpluses during recessions to a deficit now during a robust business cycle recovery.

If you look at GDP and population growth figures projected by the government, we are seeing something that I had never seen before: projected negative GDP per capita growth rates in a period of economic cycle recovery . The only reason for that is immigration; Sweden is bringing in a lot of people who consume but do not produce much...

Just the initial cost for those asylum seekers is 1.5% of our GDP, significantly higher than our defense budget at around 1%. And that does not count the net costs associated with housing, health, welfare spending and so forth that arise later.

But much more meaningful than the defense budget is the UNHCR budget for the 60 million refugees displaced around the world. And just those initial costs that Sweden spent in 2015 were twice the UN’s funding! The left likes to talk about the privileged 1%, but the 0.3% of refugees that made it to Sweden got twice as much resources as the 99.7% displaced around the world.

ET: Apparently the latest strategy is to house thousands of migrants in a docked luxury cruise ships.

TS: They are doing that, and you couldn’t make this stuff up. The waste of resources compared to dealing with the problem at the source is staggering.

Another mind blowing number – and you might think it is impossible but I have all the official figures to back this up – is the cost to house all these unaccompanied minors we have coming in, mostly from Afghanistan. By any indication most are not even minors, but in Sweden you get special treatment if you qualify as such. And their age claim is seldom challenged by the authorities so they usually get asylum even if they are much older than a minor.

Now, this is very expensive because they are treated like children and get a lot of resources. We are approaching the point where the 20-30,000 or so minors under this category are going to get more money than the entire budget of Afghanistan including foreign aid - a country with 30 million people! It’s almost impossible to deny this because it’s simple budget calculations.

At the same time, we are cutting our foreign aid budget to meet all these expenses, by something like 30%. I personally think that catastrophe aid, refugee aid, food aid works…

ET: … And it helps to prevent this huge migratory influx...

TS: There was a recent calculation by an AID-organization that argued that we are cutting programs to children in third world countries, and an estimated 20,000 people might die just from cutting the Swedish foreign aid, if the estimate is accurate.

In return, we are probably not saving a single life because none of those migrants are coming directly from war zones; almost all that come to Sweden were already in safe countries like Turkey, Iran or Germany...

ET: … Wait a minute, 92% of them are male?

TS: Yes, there is definitely something strange going on. More than half of the world’s refugees are women. In World War II, when Sweden took refugees from Finland, they were children and 90% were below the age of 10. But now almost all of them are late teenagers – supposedly; we know many are older for a fact. When other countries age test it turns out that the majority are not children. And when there are crimes committed and the age is investigated, often we get these absurd reports where some of these guys are older than 30 and yet the government puts them with other real minors in schools or housing, and this is creating a lot of anger now. The media created this taboo where because they are officially supposed to be children we can’t question it, and you are fascist if you do. Yet most people can see that many are adults.

Now I’m not moralizing this. If you have an open door policy and you are incentivizing Afghans to take advantage of the system, can you really blame them? But it is an idiocy to equate anyone who questions the claim of being a minor with being a fascist.

You know, it’s really funny that the tale about the emperor having no clothes is a Scandinavian tale. Everybody can see many are not children, but then the political and media consensus will fire or at the very least censor the people who point out this plainly obvious fact. Because how can you question children running from war, using circular reasoning that anyone who claims to be a child escaping war is one and cannot be questioned. You know, a self-reported 70% are not even coming from Afghanistan but safer countries like Iran, seeking a better life...

We have serious scientific polls that clearly state that the majority or plurality of Swedes support reducing refugee immigration, even going back as far as the 1980s. There has always been more saying that Sweden should take in less refugees and this number has probably skyrocketed in recent months.

One recent poll I have seen, and it excludes the past months, shows very high opposition: only 8% said we are not taking enough immigrants, where 58% said we are taking too many. It’s the elite opinion that forms the consensus that Sweden should take many more immigrants – it’s almost like a religion, but it is not the popular view...

Anyhow, in the short run you will continue to see shocking headlines from Sweden. The recent inflow has overloaded the system to a point where we are experiencing a crime wave. And absurd things are happening, things nobody has almost seen before: mass assaults on women by large gangs of men, lots of fighting with knifes or scolding water, murders, acid thrown in faces of women, rapes, abuse of minors, rapes of young boys... Headline after headline of horrific stuff.

Swedes always like to say that “we don’t want it like the United States”; I joked it’s almost becoming too late for that, now the best Sweden can hope for is “we don’t want it like the Game of Thrones”. The inability of the European leadership to deal with the crisis is at once surreal and fascinating, almost like witnessing a Donald Duck version of the fall of the Roman Empire in real time."


Addendum: This is also Sweden on the Brink? – An Interview with Dr. Tino Sanandaji | Erico Matias Tavares
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