Nordic welfare state being cut down to size
...In the wake of a banking crisis in the early nineties, Stockholm scrapped housing subsidies, reformed the pension system and slashed the healthcare budget.
A voucher-based system that allows for-profit schools to compete with state schools was introduced, and has drawn attention from right-wing politicians elsewhere, including Britain's Conservative Party.
In 2006, conservative Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's government accelerated the pace of reform, tightening the criteria for unemployment benefits and sick pay while lowering taxes.
Income tax in Sweden is now lower than in France, Belgium and Denmark, and public spending as a share of GDP has declined from a record 71.0 percent in 1993 to 53.3 percent last year.
Once the darling of progressives, Sweden has become a model for free-market-leaning thinkers including British weekly The Economist, which last year hailed the scaled-down Nordic model as "the next supermodel."...