SWEDEN - Government Subsidized House Cleaners

Arno Froese

When Glenda Fors hired a cleaner four years ago, one of the first things she noticed—aside from the sparkling countertops—was a dip in the number of debates about divvying up housework with her husband.

“I can see mess and it bothers me and I have to fix it, and he could see the same mess and just think ‘oh, yeah’ and just turn around, and it wouldn’t bother him,” says the 39-year-old, a full-time IT consultant who lives in Tyresö, south of Stockholm.

Multiple studies suggest that even in the world’s most egalitarian countries, women still perform a larger proportion of unpaid housework. Sweden ranks top in the EU’s Gender Equality Index, with almost 80% of women in employment, but while 74% of women do housework or cook for at least one hour every day, this compares to 56% of men. The European average is 79% compared to 34%.

For Glenda Fors, cutting down on chores was made possible by a tax reduction policy through which the state pays half of every housework bill, such as cleaning, laundry and ironing, with a limit of around 50,000 kronor ($5,170) a year. Domestic service providers make the subtraction at the point of invoice, removing the administrative burden from customers.

“I love the concept because it means that it makes these kinds of services so much more affordable,” says Fors, who is unsure if she would be using a cleaner without the tax deductions. Hourly rates for cleaning work in Sweden typically range between 250-400 kronor ($26-$42) before the subsidy.

Several senior politicians from the center-left coalition have already expressed concerns about the costs. 

However Anna Brink at the Swedish National Audit Office says she would be “very surprised if the government would suggest any large changes in this policy,” which remains popular with center-right opposition parties that are in favor of expanding the scheme even further.

Belgium’s experience backs up her prediction. Here, tax subsidies through a voucher scheme have been in place for more than 15 years, with more than a million users in a country of  11.5 million people.

“The scheme has become so tremendously popular, especially among the middle class, and those people are electorally very powerful,” says professor Ive Marx at the University of Antwerp. “They [politicians] don’t even dare to think about scaling back or abolishing the scheme.”

-www.bbc.com, 4 March 2020

Arno's commentary

We publish excerpts of this extended article to simply show that egalitarianism is just a natural result of our commercialized world. Here we must keep in mind that a hundred years ago, the overwhelming majority of people—even in the industrial world—did not have access to running water, electricity, a refrigerator, washer and dryer, as well as many other helpful gadgets that make life more comfortable.

Sweden is considered a super-socialist country and the leader in the gender equality index. For example, its murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants: 1.1 (USA 4.9), although the statistics from various organizations sometimes vary drastically. One negative statistic is the rape rate: per 100,000, it is 60 in Sweden (USA 28.1). In general, though, Sweden is a very successful nation with a high standard of living. Life expectancy stands at 82.4 years. Religiously, they are divided into 60.2% Lutheran, with 8.5% combined Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist; 31.1% are unspecified, thus agnostic or atheist.

What this article clearly shows is that the process of egalitarianism is fueled by one word: unity, or as the EU motto reads, “United in Diversity.”

Here we must keep in mind that the god of this world has the right to every person on planet earth due to the Bible’s own statement: “he who sins is of the devil.” But he is the fake god, the one who deceives the whole world: “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14). Yet, there is an escape from his clutches: simple faith in the accomplished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross, where He poured out His life in His blood and exclaimed: “It is finished.” Yes, we are still here on planet earth, but it’s only our temporary address. About our eternal one, Ephesians 2:19 says: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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