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Congratulations, Madam Councilor

Kristin Halvorsen has solved the problems around her first state budget in a smart way.


[6. October 2006] A more expensive state budget has never been presented than is presented today. Tens of billions more than before are distributed with red-green precision in a way that will secure the government's reputation as a fair benefit of the good of society. It is badly needed, after a period in which the government parties have struggled with credibility, both in relation to their core issues and their own government platform. The state budget has long been announced as the very evidence of a new course. This is

Finance Minister and Party Leader Kristin Halvorsen's big sworn test.

Trond Giske got the best out of the leaks beforehand. Not because he has moved the most kroner, but because he has cleverly let constant drips of praiseworthy little things leak to the media lately. But we would like to rip up the glossy picture that was presented in the newspapers on Wednesday, that Giske "gives up power". He does this by transferring the pot for smaller newspapers and magazines, ie media such as Ny Tid, Morgenbladet and Dag og Tid, from the state budget to the Cultural Council. We see this as a pure disclaimer for publications that have long called for better and more predictable support schemes. We fear a fate out of sight, out of mind.

Øystein Djupedal's now embarked on the process of fulfilling the promise of free textbooks is a more important symbolic issue for the government, and the 373 million allocated for this will be felt well by the voters and directly benefit them. And the Minister of Finance has got himself through the most important symbolic issue in the budget: She stands on the promise of full daycare coverage next year and gets the necessary billions to fulfill the promise. This is an important and real boost for Norwegian welfare policy.

When taxes are raised to the 2004 level and the richest are penalized the most, the distinction between the right and left sides in Norwegian politics will come to their own. But the most important and most controversial savings in the state budget, we must wait until November 1 to see the consequences of.

Then the committee with the government and the labor organizations will come up with their solution on how to save 2,5 billion in the sick pay scheme. The case, and its handling, has made the government unpopular in sensational wide circles, but postponing it will make the very presentation of the state budget a far more positive affair than it otherwise would have been. Here the government was so foolish that they might not realize it themselves.

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