Many support cuts in state welfare

A majority of Norwegians say they’re willing to accept reductions in the country’s state welfare programs, from less sick leave pay to cuts in unemployment benefits, if it will ensure economic growth. They’re also willing to keep paying high taxes, according to a survey conducted by Norwegian research foundation Fafo.

Norwegians aren't immune from terrorists, and possible targets are believed to be symbols of national pride, oil installations or, as in other countries, public transit systems like trains, subways and airlines. PHOTO: Views and News

Norwegians appear willing to sacrifice some of their state welfare benefits for the sake of a strong economy. They’re also willing to pay high taxes. PHOTO: Views and News

Fafo was holding its annual conference in Oslo this week, which always climaxes with its celebrated Friday evening party that assembles many of Norway’s most powerful people in politics, business, academia and the media. Two of its researchers, Jon M Hippe and Tone Fløtten, grabbed headlines and topped newscasts on Friday with their findings that many Norwegians don’t view their famed social welfare state as set in stone.

More than half (51 percent) of all persons questioned in their survey answered that they were willing to accept reduced benefits to secure economic growth. Those responding who identified themselves as adhering to the non-socialist political parties were the most willing to give up benefits, while those on the left side of politics were less willing. Among those who identified themselves with the Labour Party, though, nearly 40 percent said they agreed that welfare programs must be tightened if needed to bolster the economy. That prompted Fafo researcher Hippe to comment on NRK’s national radio Friday that support for welfare reductions was found among voters on both the right and the left.

Economic concerns rising
Fafo’s findings come after a week of reports that Norway’s long-booming economy may slow down and that dramatic welfare cuts may be needed if oil prices take a dive. It also was a week that saw a decline in the strength of the country’s currency, the krone, which has stayed at record strong levels for many months. Norway’s economy has become used to high oil prices of more than USD 100 a barrel in recent years, and that has fueled growth in all the oil-related service sectors as well in real estate prices and salaries in general. If the economies of other countries that need lots of oil, like China, contract, as some economists predict they will, the oil price may even decline by half. That means oil investments, real estate and other aspects of the Norwegian economy may contract as well.

Most foresee ongoing economic strength in Norway, while some doomsday scenarios involve higher unemployment, pay cuts and a crack in the long-hot real estate market. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of the Labour Party said earlier in the week that if his government is re-elected next month, he’ll spend even less oil revenues than he could under the generally accepted rule that guides use of the money, preferring to save it for the proverbial rainy day.

Stoltenberg believes the Norwegian economy is not immune to shocks, and that giving into the impulse to use more oil revenues will overheat it. He only wants to use 3 percent of the size of the so-called “oil fund” where the revenues are stashed, instead of the 4 percent he could use.

Others argued that doesn’t mean the next state budget will be necessarily tighter, though, because the fund itself keeps growing. Using 3 percent of it next year instead of 4 percent of it this year can thus amount to more actual money being put into the state budget next year.

Still satisfied
The Fafo study, meanwhile, revealed that most Norwegians are “quite satisfied” with their society at present, while the total who say they’re “very- or quite satisfied” had grown from around 50 percent of the population in 1999 to around 70 percent by 2011.

The vast majority of Norwegians is also willing to retain or even increase tax levels as a means of evening out wealth differences within the population. Less than 20 percent of those questioned in the nationwide survey advocated lower taxes, while more than 60 percent agreed it was necessary to maintain a high tax level. More than 80 percent said that tax cheats “can’t be accepted.”

Most everyone, at both ends of the political spectrum, agreed that the much vaunted “Norwegian Model” in which employers and labour leaders directly negotiate pay levels and workplace conditions under the watchful eyes of politicians will guard Norwegians against the ill effects of an economic downturn. Few agreed that Norwegians must accept weaker workplace rights.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

  • frenk

    Mmmmm……most Norwegians are “quite satisfied” with their society at present….says it all really?

    I don’t understand the concept of reducing welfare payments etc….but then not reducing overall taxation…which would put ‘real money’ in peoples pockets.

    Until something is done to reduce the cost of living in Norway then I cannot see progress…and its not just about the cost and quality of food…have you been to the chemist, considered an electronics purchase or looked at the price of cars…

    The only real solution to these ‘issues’ is for Norway to end its self imposed isolation and join the European Union. Yes, there would be losers…but I believe the majority would be winners!

    • crazyassmofo

      Joining the EU would be a huge mistake.

      • frenk

        Ok….how do you propose ‘sorting all this nonsense’ out then? Its actually a bizarre waste of time discussing/analysing most of these issues….its about time Norwegians start behaving like adults and make adult decisions for themselves! When I’m in the UK…I very rarely consider social/political issues as they don’t affect my daily life….foods good and cheap….most items are reasonably priced…I can keep my cost of living low….and, importantly, I don’t bother myself with other peoples business! Basically – I’m not constatly asking myself questions like….why is it so expensive, why is my choice limited, why can I not buy wine from a normal shop, why am I paying a toll on this road when there is never and traffic and I live in the city centre…why are the police handing out ‘massive’ fines to people….etc. etc.
        I’m not saying its ‘perfect’ in other countries…but theres much less ‘social engineering/control’….and this shows in the personality of the culture…and most of all the people…

        • Yuefeng Gao

          Well, ‘most people’ said no to EU in 1972 and 1994. You cannot teach how and what ‘most people’ should think. BTW, the ‘good points’ you mentioned above in UK is not because it is an EU country.

          • Robert Cumming

            In 94 the vote was incredibly close 48% yes v 52% no. What is amazingly stupid IMO is that Norway follows all the rules without fail, yet has very little say in them, Norway is effectively part of the EU by default.

            • Yuefeng Gao

              First, that is how the rule working. Second, although EU is an ‘union’, it is actually lead by Germany and France. When Norway joins EU, it obviously cannot play a very important role in power. When you want to have some benefits, of course you need to pay something. For a better price in the local market, should Norway contribute its money to save Greece?

        • Tom Just Olsen

          The reason Norway is so expensive is that ‘we all’ (almost) earn more than people in UK. – Sure, there is jobs in UK far better paid than equivalent jobs in Norway. Like in the financial sector (and politicians!).
          I see no reason to ‘bring costs down’ in Norway. We make our living out of our natural resources. Not competing against the Chinese making t-shirts.
          We can afford that ‘everybody’ makes a good living here in Norway. We enjoy a net export surplus of staggering 45% and a government with a sound economy, and 4500 BNOK in the bank, 80% of the fish resources in Europe, oil, minerals, cheap electricity and smart people.
          While in UK you don’t pay the whole bill. It is sent to future generations. The governmental coffers lack 8% of GDP (CIA factbook) to balance, and the nation runs a trade deficit as big as Norway’s plus. Government debt is 90% and increasing.
          How that is going to end is interesting to see. To say the least.

          • Robert Neve

            The UK is reducing it’s deficit both in the budget and trade. Labour was living on credit and screwed the UK badly because of that. But the difference is when we get back on track it will be in a sustainable way rather than racing down a one way track to a dead end with nowhere to go.

            As for the wages, har. I heard that myth too. I have a friend who works in IT and is going back to the UK for the higher wages. Last time I saw a map of Europe by wages for my Industry Norway was on average and Luxembourg was top. The only people in Norway who have higher wages are the very base workers. Those who are basically on minimum wage and that’s purely because the living wage here has to be high to compensate for the prices. And even then the average is not that good compared to Europe

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_in_Europe_by_monthly_average_wage

          • frenk

            Yes – you earn more…because you have to pay yourself more…because its so expensive! I was looking at the price of property….combined with the price of everything else you have to be very wealthy in Norway to be able to afford the ‘good average’ in other European countries. I know what they pay Norwegians at my company…and what I was offered to join other companies….and sorry…I can make more money in the UK…pay less tax (direct and indirect) and keep my cost of living to a minimum. So this notion of wealth has been created…when the only time you are truely wealthy is when you leave Norway and visit a country where the prices for good and services are ‘normal’?
            It would make sense if Norwegians would spend some of this ‘oil cash’ here in Norway…improving everything? You don’t have a ‘sound’ economy….its and economy entirely supported from oil revenues…and from what I’ve been reading recently you have an eductaion system and health system both ranked in the bottom 4 in Europe.
            So – in summation….currently Norway is cash rich…but asset poor. Hopefully a change in government will mean a change in strategy and a push to join the EU. Only then will Norwegians be able to measure their ‘true’ productivity and cost of living against the European average…

            • Tom Just Olsen

              Norway have a very sound economy. We have invested thousands of BNOK in the oil business. If we hadn’t had the oil we could have invested in something else. But we do have the oil…
              It is only 120 BNOK of the ‘oil money’ that goes into the state coffers. That’s about 12% of the total budget. Not much. If we spent more, more ‘funny’ things will happen. Like that a small flat at Grunerløkka will cost the same as a pasific Island. Or that the price of potatoes will increase 30%.
              Say, if Norway cut the oil exports tomorrow, – and the imports (drilling, maintanance, services) that goes with it, our trade balance will still be in the region of 5-6%. The same as Sweden. Not bad, he?
              The only worry I have about the oil fund is that it might be lost.

            • Tom Just Olsen

              But isn’t it good that we are all well paid in Norway?
              Is a nation with more than 100,000 US$ ‘inefficient’? You must kidding!
              We have a public healthcare system. That means that all info is public. That’s why it can be freely discussed in the press. The good and the bad. In a privatized system all this is ‘company secrets’. The same goes for education.
              Are we asset poor? Our (we all own most of it!) hydroelectric power generation is more worth than our oil reserves… We got 80% of the fish resources in Europe. Then we got minerals forest etc.
              Hopefully, EU will crumble by itself. EU serves nobody. Except for a few politicians and bureaucrats. Don’t bring it here!

              • Robert Neve

                Forests? Norway imports wood from eastern Europe. That’s how ridiculously expensive it is here. It’s cheaper to import wood! As for public healthcare system, when is it going to actually become something good? In the UK we have a completely free system, which while it has flaws, works well enough for the entire country. Here? I spent 5 minutes in a GP office before they wrongly diagnosed me and charged me 200nok. I then got to spend 2 minutes in there again and another 200nok while she sends me to a doctor who does actually fix it. 2 months later I get a 10 minute treatment and 1350nok bill. I’m actually missing the NHS.

                • Tom Just Olsen

                  Sure, we imports wood from Russia and the Baltics. When and if they want to sell it cheap. In Norway it is regulated how much forest you can take out per year. Not so in the Baltics (Russia has an export tariff on timber). Importing timber makes us richer.
                  Regarding health costs: Høyre wants the part you pay yourself higher.
                  Missing the NHS? As it was before? Because it is now being taken over by some multinational company. That does not sound cheap..

                  • Kanon25

                    By this logic Norway should be importing more food.

          • Kanon25

            When you call the electrician and he demands 1800 NOK to install a single switch, you canot say that there is no reason to bring costs down in Norway.

            Much work is not done here because many sectors have barriers that artificially increase their power over the customer. Handworkers are one example, but there are many others eg food retailers who have less competiton because new retailers cannot come in – they will have no local supply chain and import duties prevent them from importing. Similarly many service industries here are overpriced and provide little value. And not just because of labour – but rather a culture of do little and charge the customer a lot

            • frenk

              100% correct!
              Competition should:
              - Reduce price
              - Increase quality
              - Increase choice
              - Increase opportunity
              etc…

              • Ade Larsen

                But what do we really know about competition ????
                “Those most interested in competition are the ones most likely to win it”.
                The word competition really means – You’ll be screwed every which way.
                Competition is a lie that’s been sold by the free-marketeers as good when in fact it is really bad.

                • frenk

                  Kannon 25 above makes some excellent comments.
                  Yes…if Norway joined to EU…there would probably be a period of ‘desolation’ as the lazy, the expensive, the poor performers, the monopolies, the bullsh#ters, were pushed aside….but even in the short term the majority of Norwegians would see considerable improvements in quality of life. Also – it feels good when you achieve something for yourself and your family through your own efforts….without government support/hand-holding?

            • Tom Just Olsen

              Sorry, there is no ‘barriers that artificially increase their powers over the customers’ here in Norway than in most other nations of the world. (Ever heard of plumbers in NY?) And again (and) again: We have far less import duty labeled products than EU. Because we have fewer industries to protect.

              1800 NOK for a switch. No bid deal. An electrician in Norway is supposed to have his share of Norway’s enormous wealth too. Service industries are most certainly overpriced in cities like Singapore etc. Even though salaries are less than half and their health/pension system is a scam.

  • Robert Cumming

    If there are to be cuts to the welfare state (which I support) there should be corresponding cuts in taxation. I can’t understand why people would be happy with one and not expect the other, that’s daft, all it’s doing is putting more money in government coffers which they’ll waste on things like increased foreign aid, they’ve already proven that they aren’t very good at fixing problems at home.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      ‘Foreign aid’ is being held up as a waste of money when you talk to Norwegians. What most are not aware of is that a major part (50%) never leaves Norway. It is granted to, first of all, on Norwegian consultant companies that live well with this money.

  • Robert Neve

    As others have said, dropping welfare but not taxes will not stimulate the economy. Likewise I suspect most of those who wanted higher tax for better “wealth distribution”, otherwise known as punishing the successful, think they are in the band that would get more money from others.

  • Yuefeng Gao

    There are 5 million people in Norway and more than 60 millions in UK, so of course agricultural companies treat UK much more serious than Norway. All those infrastrctures like airports and harbors and the entire transport network in UK are also better, which reduce the cost. Sweden and Denmark are also EU countries, are the prices there as cheap as UK?

    • Tom Just Olsen

      Add to that the median wage difference between a typical Brit and Norwegian: More than 40% higher for the Norwegian. That carries a cost too.
      I will also add that food distribution companies in Norway are, relatively speaking, making more money. They are more greedy, if you like.

      • Yuefeng Gao

        Make a comparison about the wage divided by food price, OK? Fast food in Norway (Mc, Burger king, etc) costs about 100 NOK each, and the median monthly salary after tax is … 25000? I don’t know about the exact price in Britain, but can a British buy much more than 250 Mcdonalds per month? If not, then the high price in Norway did not affect people’s living much.

        • Tom Just Olsen

          Norwegians spend a smaller part of their income on food than most European countries. – I never hear Norwegians complain about foodprices. Cars, however….

          • Robert Cumming

            you don’t talk to enough Norwegians who aren’t making 700,000 NOK or more. They should be spending even less, after my mortgage and car repayments food is my families next biggest expense.

          • RichardEnnJohnson

            It’s because Norwegians mainly eat cheap, chewy sausages, Grandiossa, brown cheese, and processed fish byproducts, all at home of course, or in your “matpakke”. You guys must have some really incredible genes to be so healthy with the garbage you eat.

            I don’t buy your statistics for a second. Oslo residents were 27th in a recent study of domestic purchasing power among cities in Europe, how do you reconcile that with your claim of high salaries and low food expenditures?

            I am an engineer at a multinational company, my colleagues in the US, UK, Switzerland, and Australia, who are doing the exact same job at the same career level as me, make more than me after-taxes, and they pay a fraction of what I pay for just about everything. They live in bigger/nicer houses, drive newer/safer/cleaner cars, eat way better food, go out much more often, do all their shopping domestically instead of waiting for their next vacation, etc. Salaries in Norway are actually extremely low for highly-skilled workers compared to most other developed countries, if you take into account the cost of living and taxes.

            Where is this incredibly high standard of living you love to speak of? Since you’re part of an older generation, you’re probably a multi-millionaire simply due to the boom in housing prices, on the backs of the younger generation (and the immigrants you dislike so much) that have to be debt slaves for the next 30 years to afford a modest little apartment to live in, while at serious risk of being stuck with negative equity.

            I’m glad Norway has been so kind to you, congrats on your amazing birthrights, but surely you should be able to understand that expats on this expat website have to work ten times as hard to get a fraction of what Norwegians take for granted. So give us a break please.

            • Tom Just Olsen

              Well put! My mother complained that none of her grandchildren could eat properly with knife and fork. This Norwegian ‘matpakke’ culture is just sad. Going to Sweden they leave work for an hour and eats a decent hot meal at a restaurant. Far better.
              I have not seen this purchasing power statistics. I found this:
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita

              Here Norway ranges from 4th to 6th place.
              But like elsewhere, purchasing power vary with – job, age etc. I am shocked at how much debt Norwegian youths have today. I am (half) pensioners and soon about to ride into the sunset. But yes, it has been a good life living in Norway.
              Some 35 years ago I was offered a job with Caterpillar in Peoria Ill. Pay was good. But I would have to pay education for my children myself. Health care did not include ‘risk sports’ like skiing. Pension was poor. It was difficult to compare. About that time I met my future wife. She was not excited about Peoria. So we stayed in Norway.

              I can easily understand how it can be to be a expat in Norway (or can I?). The worst part about Norway is still the climate. Simply awful! I am about to go into a depression just about the thought of having to change to ‘winter tyres’ in a few weeks.

              I wish you the best of luck here in Norway. Learning the language is a key to success for expats. – We Norwegians fall over when foreigners are good in speaking Norwegian. We are easily touched. Learning languages is never a waste of time.

            • frenk

              Quality remarks!

    • Tom Just Olsen

      Good points
      There is many disadvantages with living in Norway. Prices of food is one. But have you checked prices of electricity? Are they 4 or 5 times higher in the UK?

  • Tom Just Olsen

    Do you follow the ‘pesisides scandal’ in Sweden from imported Spanish fruits? Besides that Sweden reckon with that the number of salmonella deaths as a result of contaminated meat inported from EU countries have ten-folded since joining EU…
    Sure, EU contributes to cheap food, but since all the EU countries have let down their import control guard bad quality products swarms the markets. While imports from outside EU is checked.

  • Robert Neve

    And why wouldn’t you spend it in Norway? You were only telling us the other day how wonderful and cheap everything is here. Likewise if you’d read I said I drop in welfare without a drop in taxes wouldn’t do anything to the economy. You drop taxes, particularly to the poorer people, and that will however.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      Poor people hardly pay taxes in Norway. But they are dependent on welfare. One way or the other.
      Most people with net fortune that pays fortune tax are the Norwegians who already owns properties overseas.

  • Robert Neve

    Funny didn’t you want to be in the Euro? Guess what you have to join for that to happen.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      Yes, I want that Norway should join the Euro.
      Particularly now we see ‘what it costs’ to have our own tiny little currency – that is just as strong as the huge international banks allow us to have. NOK has fell up to 10% against certain currencies. This should worry you foreigners that want to buy things cheaply in your home countries with your (once) strong NOK.
      A few more rounds with +/-10% currency movements (the banks profits on the ‘movements’ through arbitrage) and it is a must for both Norway and Sweden to join the Euro.
      But I don’t think Norway will benefit at all on a full EU membership. The lower price of potatoes does not tempt me at all. Particularly with the price tag of 20- 25 BNOK as a net membership fee, like Sweden.
      Really: I don’t think any nation or citizen in Europe, besides the extravagantly overpaid Euro politicians & bureaucrats, benefits on EU. It’s a scam.

      • Robert Neve

        oooo so much money. The UK pays £8.9 Billion and still benefits from it. I agree with the British business union that we need to reduce the red tape and political side but the common market is worth the price tag. And you can’t be in the Euro without the EU so you have to pick one or the other. You can’t say Norway needs to join the EU which is all an expensive scam.

        • Tom Just Olsen

          You must tell me about the benefits… (I really look forward to this!)
          Sure, we can ‘pick’ Euro’s if we want. We would have to part with our 150 BNOK national bank currency reserves. – EU will be delighted….

        • Tom Just Olsen

          Further: UK paying 8,9 Pounds is far less per capita (about NOK 1300) than what is expected of us Norwegians (NOK 5000) – since we are so rich, successful and bright. Could there be another reason?
          Or are these EU politicians just jelaous of our good looks?
          It smells of scam, if you ask me.

  • Yuefeng Gao

    As a Master in petroleum geology, I can tell you the short answer is nearly impossible. First, oil and gas is much more than you think. They said oil will ‘dry out’ within 50 years 20 years ago, and they are saying the same words today. Second, hardly can one finds a new energy which contains power as high as oil (except nuclear). A fact is that oil gives three times more heat than TNT under the same weight, and it is quite cheap compared to batteries and hydrogen. People have abandoned coal and chose oil for the energy source for over 100 years, did all the coal companies shut down?

    • Robert Neve

      Coal wasn’t abandoned. It’s still a huge factor in many countries’ power generation. 42.8% of the UK’s energy still comes from it. But that’s not the point, my point was that Norway has no economic allies to help it out when it needs it. The fact it resists economic/diplomatic allies while maintaining military ones is actually another example of it living in the past. Norway needs to adapt to the modern world not try to put up walls and pretend it can freeze time.

      • Tom Just Olsen

        Norway has no economical allies..? How can you live in this country without noticing that it is USA who is our economical ally no 1? Living in the past..? Norway needs to ‘adopt to the modern world’. Ha, ha!
        ‘Resisting diplomatic allies’? We are lying flat like pet dogs!
        The ‘modern world’ would be Britain. More Ha ha!

  • Yuefeng Gao

    Sorry, the number of energy that in oil compare to TNT should be 15 times more, not 3.

  • Tom Just Olsen

    By devaluating the ;Kroner with 25 – 30% many of households in Iceland went bankrupt. Nor are they ‘desparately seeking’ EU membership. They negotiate with EU. Then we’ll see, after a referendum on a membership will turn out. I hardly think a membership will materialize. Iceland, like Norway, is too natural resources based for having any advantages.
    Still with 3,3% interest on loans to Greece, there are many nations making a fine profit lending them money.

  • frenk

    I note we’ve all disappeared on ‘crazy tangents’…during this discussion…!!
    One thing is for sure….Norwegians are unable to explain logically why this is the case….and they seem powerless/unwilling/unable to do anything about it!
    Personally…I don’t like being ‘ripped-off’ anywhere….as a collegue said to me earlier in the office…all the supermarkets here are selling more or less the same products…for more or less the same price…so everyone is forced to live at the same level…!

    • Tom Just Olsen

      Are you (still) complaining about the food prices here in Norway?

      • frenk

        Ja! Its a national disgrace….

        • frenk

          Question: Whats being done to reduce the cost of living in Norway?
          Answer: Nothing
          Why: Nobody knows….

          • frenk

            Tom….I believe you are a ‘Norwegian Propaganda computer’….operating to defeat reality…?

  • Tom Just Olsen

    In general there is very little tariffs that makes foods expensive in Norway. Even on red meat. Red meat is a typical dumping product with prices on the world market at times that nobody can compete with. Not even EU farmers. -That’s why also they have closed their markets with hefty tariffs.
    One of the reasons we want to produce our food ourselves is ‘all the crap’ that is out there. EU (through EES) prohibits us from checking our EU imports for salmonella and mad cow. I am sure you have heard about mad cow…

    • Robert Neve

      I’ve had enough of hearing on and on how little tariffs there are etc. Want to actually look it up? I decided to. If I were a greek olive farmer wanting to send a shipment to Norway (so no worry about risking the Norwegian farmer even). It would cost this:

      $1 = kg of olives. (http://www.olivebusiness.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=24:olive)

      I send over 100kg so 600nok. Lets say it costs me 600nok to throw it on a container that’s already going to Norway. (and yes I know that’s high) so with no import fees if I sell it for 20nok a kg I’m making money right? Wrong.

      CIF fees = 846.96 nok
      Duty = 488 nok
      vat = 333.74 nok
      total cost from the Norwegian customs = 1668.70 nok. That’s more than the price of the olives and the delivery combined. Then you add in wastage, staff bills, shop rental, tax on profit made etc.

      There’s a reason it costs nearly the same price to get a small size as it does a large. You’re not paying for the product itself. You’re paying for everything else.

  • Tom Just Olsen

    Norway had ‘the world’s largest commercial shipping fleet in 1940. Most of which was rescued away from the Germans and sailed for the allies. Particularly Norway’s huge tanker fleet played an important part keeping Britain afloat during WWII.
    Norway bought planes and ships (several squadrons Spitfires, Mosquitos, a range for naval ships etc.) and bought them cash.
    Norway was a small country in 1940 with some 2 million people. We were facing the most powerful war power in the world. Surely, we had no chance. Neither had Britain.
    The Big Spender in UK politics was Margaret Thatcher. She privatized all the goodies. Sold it cheap to her friends. While the rest of the people had to pay the debt tied to those commodities. – Like a teenager buying his first car: Selling the car, but is stuck with the loan.
    Then it was the Falklands War. What did it cost again? I have heard the figure 2778 Billion Pounds. It can’t be true? Or?
    Robert: Be glad you got out of there and don’t have to pay that sort of tax bills. Be glad you live in Norway. I do.

  • Tom Just Olsen

    Sure. Ihave properties in both Sweden and Singapore and have to do tax statements to all three countries, and include my overseas properties/net fortunes in my Norwegian statement. -In Sweden I also have to pay ‘property tax’. Singapore hardly have taxes at all, but have ‘the world’s most complicated tax statement’.

  • Tom Just Olsen

    No. Iceland has not ‘applied’ for EU membership. Their government is trying to negotiate an agreement with EU. This agreement will be challenged by a referendum. -.After all; Iceland is a democracy. ‘If’ the people votes ‘yes’ they will join EU.
    The Icelandic political establishment is split on the EU issue. Like in most countries. I hardly think Iceland will ever become an EU member. They are too rich (and smart) for that.
    It’s more likely that Serbia, Ukraine – or Uzbekistan will become member. – Creating new hordes of cheap labour. Which EU wants.
    You exaggerates the Greeke ‘write-offs’. it was the part of the debt less covered by international law. The debtors would hardly have gotten anything back – anyway. It was no write off, but window dressing, – to keep the (totally ignorant) journalists happy. Bankers are not impressed.
    Greece have had to accept a wide range of credit papers ranging from 12 – 15% down to 3,5%. The real problem is the high yield part of it. Regardless, the Greece debt is/was a huge profit maker for banks like Goldman Sachs, Barclay, Deutsche Bundesbank etc etc. – And a catastrophe for the Greek taxpayers, and Greeks in general.
    How can the Greek default? You must tell me. The Greek state will be followed ‘to the grave’ by it’s creditors (like Argenina) untill they pay up. A government/state can not ‘write off’ it’s debt without all of it’s creditors agreeing on it.
    Greek debt is 176% of GDP at this moment (the write off resulting in a 5% ‘real’ reduction – not 50%). And expensive debt that robs Greek clean of money. In addition, the Greeks will be plundered by privatisation of more than 50 B€ worth of state assets. .The Greek people are being scammed.
    UK next?

    • JENNIFER

      have you guys looked at britian and learned anything from us???? the british government have introduced a bedroom tax. A cut in housing benefit which is breaching peoples human rights not to mention that the U.N have been involved with the matter. Its forcing people to live on the streets. Do you norwegians want a system like that??? I some how don’t think all people will want a cut in welfare benefits and a cut in their workers rights either. There are vulnerable people living in your country that need the help and support to lead independent lives. Look how britian foolishly sold off the oil…we could’ve used that build up our country. Privatising the oil is not the solution to building your economy…you guys have a better economy than most other countries and still norwegians complain about how bad things are…wake up!!! Granted there are people who should not be in norway i.e human traffickers, paedos, beggars,etc…I agree there should be some control on them but there are people from all national backgrounds just want to keep themselves to themselves.

  • Don

    I strongly advise my Norwegian friends to take a good hard look at the problems other European countries and the United States are having. And remember these three very important words; NOTHING IS FREE.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      Absolutely right. Many Norwegians take our welfare reforms for granted – and believe it is like this all over the world.

  • Don

    The U.S. at one time not too long ago was overall the most economically powerful country in the world. Today we are drowning in debt, uncontrolled immigration and a rapidly disappearing middle class. I strongly urge Norway to avoid going down that same destructive path. God bless my ancestral homeland.

  • Tom Just Olsen

    Further a few more historical facts: We kept on fighting in Norway from 9.of April til 6. June – when our allies, France and Britain decided to pull out of Narvik – due to that the Germans were about to overrun France. To comparison: Polen gave up their fight after a few days.

  • frenk

    Tom – I’m not an economist…but I don’t know why you would think improving education, health and infrastructure would push up salaries? Surely this is an ‘investment’ for the future? Hopefully Norwegians would gain skills which would mean they can fill the many positions which are currently ‘unfillable’ like technical roles….highly skilled jobs that are being worked by outsiders.
    With regards to food in Norway – I was in the REMA 1000 on Saturday and I just thought that most of the products were ‘budget products’ with regards to quality…but they were not priced in the ‘budget range’!

  • Kanon25

    Norway can afford infrastructure – they just have a poor system where they cannot do proper planning and committment to long term investment. This leads to a culture where it is basically almost unknown to make such investments for sensible reasons. The infrastructure investments they make are actually local and rural political payements.

    For norway to invest in its future properly infrastructure-wise, it would need to start making proper modern budget planning in which it separates capital investment and current expenditures properly – and makes long term committments and carve-outs for the former, based on real sound thoughts and not just trying to buy votes from x group of farmers or y region of marginal voting districts.

    • Robert Cumming

      You’re right there, there is a lot of port barrel politics in Norway, especially in outlying regions.

  • Tom Just Olsen

    Yes, our healthcare system is a scam. Prove it!

  • Tom Just Olsen

    OK? I have never seen an electric heater or stove in Britain. How come? Not even an electric water heater.

  • Robert Cumming

    New Zealand has better roads, better hospitals, better education, in general better infrastructure than Norway, it has a slightly smaller population, isn’t as wealthy but it’s still better, way better.

  • frenk

    Eh??? I think the security guard at my office puts it well when she says, “Norway’s all about – money, money, money, money”…..and its true – I receive a much higher salary than the ‘average’ Norwegian….and I still can’t believe the prices and the low quality of goods an services – like a lot of Norwegians…I prefer to do my shopping abroad. If you read most of my comments on here then you will see that they are mostly related to food. For a modern European (huh huh) country like Norway to be selling this frozen, processed, low quality gargabge at these prices is insane. Most of this stuff would be regarded as ‘budget’ food in the UK….and theres ‘no escape’!
    The EU has not destroyed itself….in fact its been extremly successful and is the largest single market that has ever existed – theres been a worlwide recession for the last 5 years so things have been tough for everyone.
    I believe its time for Norwegians to move on from this ‘Nationalism’ they constantly present…this is one of the reasons why the EU exists…be part of something bigger….
    As above: “Yes…if Norway joined to EU…there would probably be a period of ‘desolation’ as the lazy, the expensive, the poor performers, the monopolies, the bullsh#ters, were pushed aside….”