Having chewed over the Norwegian budget for a little while now, there is no denying that it leaves a very nasty taste in the mouth. Previously I have bemoaned the irresponsible use of money; in this time of slowing down in the Norwegian economy, I can agree with the government that increasing spending is necessary to get the wheels moving again. But why on earth they choose to temper it with tax cuts is beyond me. Any econominx can tell you that, where possible, more welfare should be paid for with more taxes. However, this government has cut taxes and funded their spending spree with Norway’s oil kitty.
All this could be thought of as good old fashioned Populist incompetence, while the Conservatives hope the Liberals and Christians will insert some sanity in negotiation season. But the philososloth tastes something even worse than economic incompetence. This budget also smacks of cynicism. The irresponsible spending is made all the worse by the need to find extra cash in November to deal with the refugee crisis.
The government claims that they are dealing with reasonable estimates for how many Syrian refugees will enter Norway next year. But in the worst refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War the government last week revised down how many people they think will come to Norway. The government has already spent too much and might be looking for an excuse not to be able to meet the targets on refugees which Parliament has agreed to. The Populist finance minister, who did not support the increased numbers of refugees in the first place, could plea that there is no more money for the increased number of refugees coming in. The Philososloth is left with a very nasty taste in the mouth.