Do they really say what needs to be done?

I have gone through a bunch of press cuttings from this year to take a look at what leading businessmen, economics professors and politicians have been saying recently about the Finnish economy:

  1. Puttonen: Europe has not recovered from the financial crisis and Finnish economy is a mess … with GDP still lower than 2008… economic reforms not implemented as promised… Voters need to look back at politicians’ promises…
  2. Niinistö: Today’s debt is tomorrow’s tax… encourages the government to implement structural reforms… some of which have proceeded sluggishly… the economic benefits of these reforms will only be apparent in the long term…
  3. Wahlroos: Situation is bleak, ”catastrophic” and ”murderous”… now worse than 1991…
  4. Borg: More women need to work… Finland could, without further action to reach a growth path in 10-15 years… But if you do not want to wait that long, must take action…wages 20% too high in relation to productivity… more flexibility needed in labor market…
  5. EK & Company: Tax reform to support investment and work… 2% reduction in taxation… local wage agreements… longer training opportunities and apprenticeship to be more attractive… reducing unnecessary regulation… unemployment benefits shorter… smaller public sector… zero wage policy for next 3 years.
  6. Sailas: Reduction in pension payments by 3 to 4 percentage points… because municipal, health care and pension reforms not implemented as promised… need to remove inefficient company grants and tax credits… reduce unnecessary authorizations for business… secure infrastructure financing for investments…
  7. Pension insurance industry (Tela) reply: No way – need to increase in pension payments by 3 percentage points!
  8. SAK & STTK(the trade unions): Pension payments reductions are a short-sighted policy that Finland cannot afford in a joint statement… Insist that unemployment benefits be partially extended and young people’s pensions are secured… See no reason to stop the tripartite negotiations for labor market policy… gray labor market must be reduced…
  9. Korkman: Causes of crisis not about wages being too high or public sector being too big… Downturn in the global markets is biggest reason… out of our control… Present government has now failed to take necessary action… Nordic social values are successful and important and must be developed in face of aging population… Longer working life necessary… Education to be shortened and made more efficient… Politicians need to push unpleasant measures down voters’ throats to improve public sector productivity, stop unlawful strikes, reduce tax burden… Unions (EK+SAK, etc.) must continue to negotiate…

The most interesting thing to note from this collection is that unemployment was not mentioned once, nor was the importance of growing the service sector – it is all about industrial growth, or the lack of it. Nobody wants to give up ground on achieved benefits. There is a notable lack of concrete measures that could improve unemployment in the short-term. Their current “necessary” proposals are ones that only reduce costs over the long term… and other “necessary” proposals are general and lack concrete action, except when their own vested interests are threatened. Tax reduction is a no brainer demanded. Korkman has a good point when he states that unpleasant measures must be pushed down voters throats… but he does not actually describe which measures. Here are some http://anderson2015.fi/blog/what-needs-to-be-done-the-world-around-us-has-changed/ . Let’s see what other concrete measure can be listed to for ”forced feeding” to help  economic recovery.

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