Norway ponders conservatism and the future of the welfare state

posted at 4:01 pm on August 10, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

Parts of Northern Europe have had a bit better luck than some other sectors across the pond during the economic troubles of the past decade, but they still have had to deal with the legacy of welfare states and costly entitlement programs. Earlier this year, Mary Katharine looked at Sweden’s attempts to deal with rising debt and costly entitlements, while Erika covered some steps being taken in Denmark to deal with their long term financial issues arising from the same core issues. This sense of realism and worry about the future seems to be spreading across the region, and John Fund has a great analysis of current events in Norway, where conservatives seem poised to take control of the government there for the first time in ages.

If polls taken over the last year are accurate, the eight-year-old Labor-party government of Jens Stoltenberg is headed for a landslide defeat.

Normally, you would think it would be a shoo-in for reelection. Labor’s social democrats have long thought of themselves as the natural party of government — Labor has been the leading party in Norway for all but 16 of the last 78 years. While much of Europe is wracked by recession, Norway’s economy grew by 3 percent last year, and the unemployment rate is only 3.5 percent. Norway’s GDP per capita is now over $60,000 a year.

But Norwegians appear likely to elect a conservative coalition government for the first time in over a decade. Polls show the Conservative party leading with 32 percent of the vote, which should give it 58 seats in the 169-seat parliament, a dramatic increase from 2005, when it won only 23 seats. The Labor party has about 30 percent of the vote, and its left-wing allied parties are floundering. The Progress party — a populist party that supports low taxes and stricter limits on immigration, and that worries about Muslim extremism – has about 16 percent of the vote, and it and the Conservatives, together with their smaller allies, look to have a clear majority in the new Parliament. Both the Conservative party and the Progress party are headed by women — former local-government minister Erna Solberg and economist Siv Jensen, respectively — making it very likely that Norway will soon have its second woman prime minister.

We don’t tend to hear much about Norway over here, aside from one tragic shooting by a madman, but that’s likely because things have been going fairly smoothly for them. As Fund notes, the discovery of massive oil deposits off their coast in the sixties led to the formation of a state operated oil company which generates more than a third of the country’s entire revenue. The lion’s share of those profits go straight into Norway’s Government Pension Fund, doled out from there to an extremely generous welfare program. This report provides details of just some of the benefits being funded by the government, including free healthcare, dental care until 19 years of age, and cut rate prescriptions. They also offer essentially unlimited disability payments, pensions for retirees, survivor benefits and more. So in such an apparently successful socialist paradise, why would the voters suddenly turn to the conservatives?

As Fund notes, there is a growing realization and public discussion of the fact that, “the oil won’t last forever.” And with an ever increasing – and aging – army of pensioners to fully support, if either the supply or the profitable demand for oil were to begin to plunge, the system would collapse under its own weight. Rather than waiting for the wolves to actually arrive at the door, it appears that the citizens are actually thinking of planning for the future. Not in any “radical” and massive ways, mind you, but even baby steps can get you started on the road to redemption. If nothing else, this might make the Norwegian elections worth watching this year. Stay tuned.


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Just a head fake.
.
Socialism rules in Scandia.

FlaMurph on August 10, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Jazz, seems you never post about interesting places like China

DarkCurrent on August 10, 2013 at 4:21 PM

aside from one tragic shooting by a madman

Breivik wasn’t a madman. Norwegian liberals flooded his city with muslim thugs while sheltering themselves from the fray and using the state to protect the thugs. So he killed their kids in retaliation. Evil, yes, but mad? Dismissing him as mad (the shrinks who examined him claim he is quite sane) is to dismiss the near omnipresent evil liberals unrelentingly inflict on society.

Darth Executor on August 10, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Being of Norwegian descent, this is good to see, but not surprising.

MichaelGabriel on August 10, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Conservatism in Norway would be like moving from Marxism to Leninism

faraway on August 10, 2013 at 4:31 PM

Right Turn

FloatingRock on August 10, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Darth Executor on August 10, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Interesting.

Cleombrotus on August 10, 2013 at 4:37 PM

The ability of the third world to move to more civilized countries with welfare systems will drown these countries.

The Scandinavians have their problems with Muslims and we have ours with people from Mexico and Central America.

The average number of people sponsored by illegals receiving amnesty in 1986 was five. If there are 11 million illegals (probably a low figure) and each sponsors five relatives, that’s 66 million total. Plus there will be more constantly streaming across the borders because there will be no enforcement.

How will the U.S. support 66 million additional illiterates in addition to the 47% that does not pay taxes.

bw222 on August 10, 2013 at 4:39 PM

How will the U.S. support 66 million additional illiterates in addition to the 47% that does not pay taxes.

bw222 on August 10, 2013 at 4:39 PM

Easy, the Federal Reserve will simply steel it from future generations, (most of whom haven’t even been born yet and thus have no representation in government and can’t defend their interests), and stick them with the bill and the consequences for our profligacy. It’s even easier than steeling candy from babies because babies include a built in alarm system and often cry when crooked politicians steel their candy, so sneaky politicians invented the Federal Reserve, enabling corrupt officials to steal candy from babies, to rob them of their very futures, before they’re even born.

Then the corrupt government will dole out the money to all their cronies and special interests to pay for deceitful propaganda and to buy votes to trick people into voting for the crooks that are destroying our children’s and grandchildren’s futures.

FloatingRock on August 10, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Breivik wasn’t a madman. Norwegian liberals flooded his city with muslim thugs while sheltering themselves from the fray and using the state to protect the thugs. So he killed their kids in retaliation. Evil, yes, but mad? Dismissing him as mad (the shrinks who examined him claim he is quite sane) is to dismiss the near omnipresent evil liberals unrelentingly inflict on society.

Darth Executor on August 10, 2013 at 4:25 PM

I’ll agree with the “liberal” part, but “mislim”? When it comes to victims, just a few muslims on the list, most were natives:

http://www.ibtimes.com/anders-behring-breivik-massacre-victims-named-list-photos-839577

Overwhelmingly most were natives judging by the photos (in other links).

riddick on August 10, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Norway is a fascinating and incredibly beautiful country. Imagine a nation that is about the size of the west coast of the USA that is inhabited by only about 8 million people. And they are the wealthiest nation on earth, per capita, because of all that delicious North Sea crude.

They take have taken environmentalism to the extreme, even by our insane EPA standards, but the land is virtually pristine. And note to the enviro whackos here: if they Norwegians can tap the North Sea – difficult and dangerous under ideal circumstances – with very little if any harm to the environment, then there is no logical reason we cannot tap shale reserves and other areas with fracking on land, a far safer and controllable technique.

Socially, they are starting to have the typical problems associated with Muslim immigration to Oslo and the other big towns. Also, despite being friendly and warm to me personally, the Norwegian mindset is self-loathing hatred of the west, anti-American and virulently anti-Israeli/Semitic.

I enjoyed my stay there but they got some big cultural problems to overcome.

Rixon on August 10, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Its nice to read about people getting their thinking right. They suffer also from illegal immigration and are planning on doing something about it. Not enough money to go around.

Mirimichi on August 10, 2013 at 5:08 PM

These countries are drawing in parasitical Muslims like bees to flowers. They won’t work, won’t pay taxes, won’t learn the language and are openly racist and bigoted. In Norway, in one year-2011- every single rape in Norway was committed by a Muslim. http://www.bing.com/search?q=every%20rape%20in%20Norway%20was%20by%20Muslims&pc=conduit&ptag=A98ED4ACF51344968A6F&form=CONBNT&conlogo=CT3210127&ShowAppsUI=1

pat on August 10, 2013 at 5:10 PM

These countries are drawing in parasitical Muslims like bees to flowers.

pat on August 10, 2013 at 5:10 PM

I don’t disagree with your overall point, but unlike parasitic Muslim barbarians, bees have a beneficial symbiotic relationship with flowers.

FloatingRock on August 10, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Its nice to read about people getting their thinking right. They suffer also from illegal immigration and are planning on doing something about it. Not enough money to go around.

Mirimichi on August 10, 2013 at 5:08 PM

By the time they are at the point they are suffering from illegal immigration – it is too late.
i.e. – America

redguy on August 10, 2013 at 5:36 PM

These countries are drawing in parasitical Muslims like bees to flowers. They won’t work, won’t pay taxes, won’t learn the language and are openly racist and bigoted. In Norway, in one year-2011- every single rape in Norway was committed by a Muslim.

It is their goal, much like Obama – to take it all…. Cloward/Piven

redguy on August 10, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Skål!

AshleyTKing on August 10, 2013 at 5:52 PM

…ponder…pounding!…they gotta quit pounding!!

KOOLAID2 on August 10, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Odd. Socialism only seems to work until you run out of (other people’s) money.

GarandFan on August 10, 2013 at 5:58 PM

So in such an apparently successful socialist paradise, why would the voters suddenly turn to the conservatives?

Muslim immigration…

See the problem with entitlements is if a group of people come in to the country and don’t really contribute to the entitlement system but just take from it, and worse yet in the case of Muslims they attempt to change the culture in a way that is too bizarre for the locals it is going to cause first political upheaval and at some point even violence.

Same problem could happen in the U.S. if too many immigrants are brought in without enough time to integrate them or for them to contribute. Although in our case Hispanics culturally are not so far removed from American culture like Muslims are so the second problem of massive cultural change is not as big a threat.

The funny thing is the people who push most for immigration are the people who are most likely to be hurt in the long run. Progressives and liberals, African-Americans, city dwellers, etc. will of course gain a temporary political gain, but as time moves on as Hispanics gain political power in parts of this country it will be doubtful they will share it with African-Americans or white liberals. It will cause massive splits in the Democratic party and may even end up blowing up the entitlement system early which should make conservatives happy.

It is much more comical to let Muslims in. They pretty much hate everything liberals believe in, like gay marriage, abortion, separation between religion and state. There is a certain amount of cosmic karma in all this. The key for conservatives is to keep their respective countries alive long enough in all this mess so that when the chickens do come home to roost, we will be in a position to take advantage.

William Eaton on August 10, 2013 at 6:39 PM

They could have their Socialism if they really wanted it. But…they would have to give up all of their conveniences, luxuries, vacations and so on. And would probably have to work more on top of that.

True Socialism is a bare-bones lifestyle. Too many in these affluent Western countries don’t realize that it is heavily subsidized by Capitalism, and when that weakens naturally so does the Socialist State.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 10, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Same problem could happen in the U.S. if too many immigrants are brought in without enough time to integrate them or for them to contribute.

The same problem will happen here in the U.S. because too many immigrants and invaders are deliberately welcomed in with no intention to integrate them, and instead of contributing they are supported by continued government redistribution from those that do contribute, as long as that can last, and compete with citizens for jobs until we peasants are all equal in misery and the nation is permanently culturally and politically splintered into competing blocs from which our political and financial lords and masters will benefit by pitting all the blocs against each other.

Divide and conquer.

hawkeye54 on August 10, 2013 at 6:57 PM

I’m glad I don’t care. North Dakota has a large population of like 3rd-4th generation Norwegians.
And it is why we have such progressive busy bodies in the ND state legislature.
I hate those progressives.
ND has been spending a lot of $$ on social welfare programs that is bringing in a bunch of lazy a$$ trash from out of state.
I’m sick of my taxes going toward this crap.

Badger40 on August 10, 2013 at 7:01 PM

Odd. Socialism only seems to work until you run out of (other people’s) money.

GarandFan on August 10, 2013 at 5:58 PM

And it might keep working for the ruling elite as long as it provides just enough for the commoners to exist and be content with minimal complaint. Oh, and disarms the commoners to make sure the level of satisfaction never rises above minimal verbal complaint.

hawkeye54 on August 10, 2013 at 7:01 PM

Badger

I work in the oilpatch in western North Dakota
The west is far more conservative than the east, but I’ve also noticed some rather string passivity on political issues from the so-called conservatives.
Very strange mind sets
That’s how that lunkhead Democrat Heidi Heitkamp was able to win her senate seat in a supposedly red state.

TexasJew on August 10, 2013 at 7:14 PM

Wow.

A story about a potentially positive development in Scandinavia and the only positive comment is: Skål!

Nysgjerrig.

MichaelGabriel on August 10, 2013 at 8:21 PM

Muslim immigration…

See the problem with entitlements is if a group of people come in to the country and don’t really contribute to the entitlement system but just take from it, and worse yet in the case of Muslims they attempt to change the culture in a way that is too bizarre for the locals it is going to cause first political upheaval and at some point even violence.

Same problem could happen in the U.S. if too many immigrants are brought in without enough time to integrate them or for them to contribute. Although in our case Hispanics culturally are not so far removed from American culture like Muslims are so the second problem of massive cultural change is not as big a threat.

The funny thing is the people who push most for immigration are the people who are most likely to be hurt in the long run. Progressives and liberals, African-Americans, city dwellers, etc. will of course gain a temporary political gain, but as time moves on as Hispanics gain political power in parts of this country it will be doubtful they will share it with African-Americans or white liberals. It will cause massive splits in the Democratic party and may even end up blowing up the entitlement system early which should make conservatives happy.

It is much more comical to let Muslims in. They pretty much hate everything liberals believe in, like gay marriage, abortion, separation between religion and state. There is a certain amount of cosmic karma in all this. The key for conservatives is to keep their respective countries alive long enough in all this mess so that when the chickens do come home to roost, we will be in a position to take advantage.

William Eaton on August 10, 2013 at 6:39 PM

California will go first. What happens when there are enough Mexican-American voters in California that they demand a vote on leaving the USA and joining Mexico? Do we suddenly become not so interested in democracy? Reconquista?

slickwillie2001 on August 10, 2013 at 8:21 PM

The funny thing is the people who push most for immigration are the people who are most likely to be hurt in the long run….

It is much more comical to let Muslims in. They pretty much hate everything liberals believe in, like gay marriage, abortion, separation between religion and state. There is a certain amount of cosmic karma in all this…

William Eaton on August 10, 2013 at 6:39 PM

That is the repressed self-loathing, self-destructive, shame-drenched suicidal sickness of liberalism, right there.

Kenosha Kid on August 10, 2013 at 9:17 PM

These countries are drawing in parasitical Muslims like bees to flowers. They won’t work, won’t pay taxes, won’t learn the language and are openly racist and bigoted. In Norway, in one year-2011- every single rape in Norway was committed by a Muslim. http://www.bing.com/search?q=every%20rape%20in%20Norway%20was%20by%20Muslims&pc=conduit&ptag=A98ED4ACF51344968A6F&form=CONBNT&conlogo=CT3210127&ShowAppsUI=1

pat on August 10, 2013 at 5:10 PM

And how are we different save for rapes? The only difference is here muslims still fear us.

riddick on August 10, 2013 at 9:31 PM

I’ll agree with the “liberal” part, but “mislim”? When it comes to victims, just a few muslims on the list, most were natives:

http://www.ibtimes.com/anders-behring-breivik-massacre-victims-named-list-photos-839577

Overwhelmingly most were natives judging by the photos (in other links).

riddick on August 10, 2013 at 4:58 PM

When i said he killed their kids, I meant the high ranking liberals’ kids, not the muslims’ kids. In particular, he targeted an education camp for left wing politicians’ kids.

Darth Executor on August 10, 2013 at 9:39 PM

When i said he killed their kids, I meant the high ranking liberals’ kids, not the muslims’ kids. In particular, he targeted an education camp for left wing politicians’ kids.

Darth Executor on August 10, 2013 at 9:39 PM

I don’t think they were as young as the media was saying. And when the media was explaining why the young kids weren’t killed, they were naming certain victims as heroes that used themselves as human shields, but once they were dead, it would have been easy for Breivik to kill the kids, obviously, but he didn’t. They were devising some alternative for childrens’ survival other than Breivik not being interested in killing them.

Buddahpundit on August 10, 2013 at 10:42 PM

Darth Executor on August 10, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Agree about Brevik, and in a twist of irony for the leftists … he’ll be out in 20 years or so, due to their insanely lenient sentencing laws.

Perhaps he will be prime minister?

virgo on August 10, 2013 at 10:56 PM

Too many in these affluent Western countries don’t realize that it is heavily subsidized by Capitalism

The dirty little secret of the Euro-socialist model. Capitalism has a large yet, very finite, ability to support the welfare state as a safety net and is the only reason it hasn’t completely fallen apart.

So, of course, they must try to kill it.

And they wonder why we call them stupid.

98ZJUSMC on August 11, 2013 at 1:38 AM

When i said he killed their kids, I meant the high ranking liberals’ kids, not the muslims’ kids. In particular, he targeted an education camp for left wing politicians’ kids.

Darth Executor on August 10, 2013 at 9:39 PM

No disagreement there.

riddick on August 11, 2013 at 2:32 AM

“These countries are drawing in parasitical Muslims like bees to flowers. They won’t work, won’t pay taxes, won’t learn the language and are openly racist and bigoted. In Norway, in one year-2011- every single rape in Norway was committed by a Muslim. http://www.bing.com/search?q=every%20rape%20in%20Norway%20was%20by%20Muslims&pc=conduit&ptag=A98ED4ACF51344968A6F&f

Not true.

It took me awhile to run down the actual study.

https://www.politi.no/vedlegg/lokale_vedlegg/oslo/Vedlegg_1309.pdf

I don’t speak Norwegian very well, but I think this guy is right about what it says :
http://www.islamophobia-watch.com/islamophobia-watch/2011/6/20/pat-condell-claims-all-rapists-in-oslo-are-muslim-immigrants.html

“The police report referred to is Voldtekt i den globale byen (Rape in the global city) which provides a detailed analysis of the rape statistics in Oslo during 2010. The report in fact shows that, of 131 individuals charged with the 152 rapes in which the perpetrator could be identified, 45.8% were of African, Middle Eastern or Asian origin while the majority – 54.2% – were of Norwegian, other European or American origin.

The claim that “all rapists in Oslo are immigrants” is based exclusively on the figures for “assault rape”, i.e. rape aggravated by physical violence, a category that included only 6 of the 152 cases and 5 of the 131 identified individuals. All of those 5 individuals were indeed of African, Middle Eastern or Asian origin. However, the police report adds that in other cases of assault rape, where the individual responsible was not identified and the police relied on the description provided by the victim, “8 of the perpetrators were African / dark-skinned appearance, 5 were Western / light / Nordic and 4 had an Asian appearance”. Which falls some way short of substantiating the claim that all perpetrators of aggravated rape in Oslo are of non-western origin, never mind the assertion that “Muslim immigrants” are responsible for all rapes in the city.”

—–

So, no. Does Norway have an immigrant problem? Yes. Is this rightward turn due to the fact that lots of third world immigrants are stretching — or are at least perceived to be stretching — the social net originally designed for native Norwegians? Yes. Is the fact of global air travel make the mass migration of people from third world hellholes to the first world west to take advantage of generous welfare both predictable and predicted? Yes.

Does that mean that all Muslims are rape-lovin’ thugs just anxious for some white poontang? Not even close. Let’s deal with the truth of things, not with rumor.

pendell2 on August 11, 2013 at 9:34 AM

They could have their Socialism if they really wanted it. But…they would have to give up all of their conveniences, luxuries, vacations and so on. And would probably have to work more on top of that.

True Socialism is a bare-bones lifestyle. Too many in these affluent Western countries don’t realize that it is heavily subsidized by Capitalism, and when that weakens naturally so does the Socialist State.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 10, 2013 at 6:45 PM

THIS!

vnohara on August 11, 2013 at 9:52 AM

pendell2 on August 11, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Nobody even said that all Mualims are rape-loving thugs to begin with, so if you’re “gonna deal with the truth” you might want to start with yourself. The reality is that Muslims ARE committing rapes in numbers grossly disproportionate to their % of the population, so it’s more than just the Norwegian safety net that they’re stretching.

Darth Executor on August 11, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Norway (and Sweden to some extent)has an enormous Muslim immigration problem. Muslim ghettos are formed, rapes and mindless violence is rampant, honor killings, organized fleecing of the welfare system, etc, etc, in a country that’s full of naive, well meaning people.

Most norwegians are caught like wide eyed deer in the head lights while their politicians are systematically destroying everything Norway has been about, through mindless political correctness and sheer stupidity. There will be an implosion of norwegian society of epic proportions in the near future.

Breivik isn’t a madman, he just took the feeling of disgust and fear of the impending catastrophy to the very extreme.

NapaConservative on August 12, 2013 at 11:03 AM