Even though Swedes pay more than half of their income to the government in taxes, they are still wealthy enough to hire nannies. At least government ministers are, provided they pay their employees under the table to avoid the payroll taxes.
Check out this Bloomberg story:
Illegal nannies are shaking up Sweden’s ideal of social equality.
Two ministers in Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s newly installed government quit last month after saying they had hired nannies and cleaners under the table to avoid payroll taxes. The scandal came as Reinfeldt prepared to cut taxes employers pay on the wages of household help, making such workers more affordable.
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The controversy highlights tensions between an increasingly affluent population that can afford domestic help and Social Democratic traditions that reject the use of servants. Opponents say Reinfeldt’s proposal will boost the use of cleaners and nannies, eroding a culture in which even the wealthy were expected to do their own housework.
“The tax deduction has a great symbolic charge,” said Ulf Bjereld, a professor of political science at Gothenburg University. “For the left, it’s seen as a return to 19th-century values, where maids deal with the household labor so that the upper classes can live well.”
About one in five Swedes hires household help without paying employer’s fees, according to the Swedish tax authority. It costs three times as much to employ a cleaner legally as on the black market. If the cost fell, 24 percent would hire workers legally, according to an October survey by researcher Sifo for the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. The paper didn’t say what percentage of Swedes currently hires workers legally.
The government, led by Reinfeldt’s Moderate Party, on Oct. 16 said it would cut income taxes by 38.7 billion kronor ($5.5 billion) and introduce tax deductions for people who hire cleaners and nannies.
If I understand this initiative correctly, the proper translation would be, “Since we got caught in the act, we’ll cut your taxes and subsidize the servant industry, so you, too, can afford to hire a Third World nanny.”
But here’s a part I don’t understand:
“Employment would increase and black-market jobs would partly be replaced by white jobs,” the government said in a statement. “There’s a great potential for employment opportunities within household-related services.” [emphasis added]
I hope “white” means “legal” in this case…
Therese, a 32-year-old public-relations consultant from Stockholm, said she supported Reinfeldt’s proposal. She currently pays the equivalent of $15.50 an hour to a Polish worker who cleans her apartment every other week.
“The price difference to buying a legal service is just too big,” Therese said, declining to give her full name because she is evading the tax.
Domestic workers, too, say they support the plan. When employers don’t pay social-security taxes, workers aren’t entitled to government-sponsored benefits and have to save for retirement through private programs. Imelda, a 48-year-old Filipina cleaner and caterer who has lived in Sweden for 26 years, said many clients pay her in cash.
“It’s a lot better for me when they pay taxes,” said Imelda, who declined to give her last name. “I’ve got to think about my future, but I expect things to become a lot better with this proposal.”
High taxes… A demand for cheap labor… A tacit agreement between the ruling class and the peons so that the black market can supply what the distortions of Socialism suppress… What are we, back in the U.S.S.R.?
No word if that Filipina maid is a Muslim, although her name makes it unlikely. Nothing about how many Muslims are domestic workers caring for the children of the upper class. Sweden has an awful lot of Muslim immigrants, though. And, judging by the case of the Colorado slave-owner, the going rate for a Muslim household servant —ten bucks a month, and sexual service for free — may be low enough that Muslim domestics would be a better deal for the frugal Swedish politician than those expensive immigrant Poles.