I Answer Questions: Likes/Dislikes About Sweden

What do you like and dislike most about Sweden?

What I Like

I love the social support system. Public healthcare, free education (up to and including college/university, where student loans are only to cover living expenses and are given at a very generous interest and repayment plan), free dental care until the age of 20, subsidized daycare, etc.

I've heard that child birth costs around $10,000 in the US (or was it more?). Do you know what we paid here? Nothing. We were billed for each night spent in after care: $18 a day. High cost protections mean that I never have to pay more than $120 in any given 12 month period for healthcare. Never more than $300 or so for prescriptive medicines in a calendar year.

These are the very best things about Sweden without question. Only second comes the wonderful nature and the fact that we're among the best when it comes to equality and LGBTQ rights and acceptance. Mind you we're not nearly there yet, but we're doing okay progress all things considered.

"Oh," you're thinking now, "he's such a leftist; everything is just politics."

It's true that I do lean a lot to the left. It's also true that everyone benefits from this system. Yes, the taxes are high. So what? I'm decently well paid, and I could afford to pay more taxes and still live well. Actually, the fact that I don't pay more is a part of the things I dislike most.

What I Dislike

These social protections have been slowly eroding over decades. Much of our tax money now goes into paying consultants and private schools that feed segregation and inequality. These are not my opinions: these are well documented facts that even the conservatives acknowledge. The problem is that nobody wants to decommission the private schools or private clinics because it would cause short term discord.

The railroads used to be publicly owned. Railroads were sufficiently serviced. The railway industry now complains about the deteriorating state of railways, but they don't want to pay for repairs and service. That money will end up coming from taxes; public money directly funnelled to the benefit of private companies. I believe the same situation applies to electricity infrastructure.

Private schools siphon well-off and low maintenance pupils from the public education system and are able to spend less per pupil on average than the public schools who are left with a higher percentage of kids in need of extra support, further straining the budgets, planning, and resource problems that the schools already have.

The constant race for less taxes strains the public sector and deteriorates quality across the whole field. I know a woman who worked in public education with after school daycare. In the last ten years before retirement her workplace went from having eight full time staff for 60 kids to four full time staff for 70. At the unemployment agency it's no longer strange for case workers to have in excess of 400 clients at once.

So yeah, my biggest gripe with Sweden is how we as a nation are taking public service for granted but willingly gutting it. Said public service is so immensely valuable! I would never move to a country in which I had to pay tuitions or healthcare.

-- CC0 Björn Wärmedal