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Government spending and tax levels
May 30, 2008 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Want to know how government spending and taxation levels have gone up or down over the last 20 years, and how they compare with other countries? The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has a handy set of tables (Excel, HTML-ized by Google): total spending, total revenues, fiscal surplus or deficit (Norway's surplus is 17% of GDP). Part of the statistical tables for the semi-annual OECD Outlook.
posted by russilwvong (6 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I loves me some numbers. If only you could have written the post in a dry, detached, slightly-less-than-serious tone while still being very straitlaced you might have the beginnings of an excellent magazine.
posted by GuyZero at 2:28 PM on May 30, 2008


Why does Norway consistently show such a large surplus? I suppose I don't understand the policy.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:57 PM on May 30, 2008


Mr. President: They reinvest it, and provide social services with the extra interest income, reducing the tax burden while increasing benefits over the long term.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:25 PM on May 30, 2008


Mr. President: They reinvest it, and provide social services with the extra interest income, reducing the tax burden while increasing benefits over the long term.

Is the surplus mostly from taxes on oil, then? The post implied that, but the Wikipedia didn't really make it clear.

That would actually make a lot of sense--taxing the depletion of a natural resource and reinvesting the proceeds seems like a decent way to derive a long-term benefit from it. The policy justification is a little less clear when applied to tax proceeds from non-depleting activities, but I guess Norway believes they can invest at a rate higher than the growth in Norwegian GDP (well, tax base, really), and Norwegians don't object to a little intergenerational wealth transfer.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:56 PM on May 30, 2008


A few days ago, I read an article that said one in every hundred stock on the European markets is owned by the "Norwegian Oil Fund" (popular name for the investment fund up here).

We live comfortably enough without needing to spend it as we make it. My pension's coming out of that fund ;)
posted by flippant at 1:19 AM on May 31, 2008


'All but 4 per cent of Norway's oil earnings must be placed in the fund for savings; nothing can be withdrawn from the fund until the oil is gone, decades from now; and – most crucially – absolutely none of the money can be invested inside Norway. Mr. Slyngstad and his traders spend their days funnelling the oil wealth into foreign stocks and bonds, so none of it will touch the Norwegian economy.'

Frugal Norway saves for life after the boom
posted by romanb at 1:49 AM on May 31, 2008


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