No. of Recommendations: 14
Notoriously, there have been cases in which Swedish taxation has gone completely bonkers, off-the-rails crazy, in the past. Best known is the case of Astrid Lindgren, world-famous author of Pippi Långstrump ("Pippi Longstocking") and other great books, especially children's books. In 1976, it turned out that her marginal tax rate was 102%: for each extra book of hers that was sold, she owed the government (a little) more money than the royalties she earned by that sale.

Despite being a lifelong Social Democrat, Astrid fought back, and in the best way: by writing yet another great book, Pomperipossa in Monismania ("Pomperipossa in the World Of Money"), attacking the tax-policy-gone-mad. Many Swedes credit the impact of that book, by a universally popular celebrity also well-known as a Social Democrat, for the Social Democrats to lose the elections later that year, for the first time in 40 years. As a result, tax policies were brought back into the realm of sanity; at the time I worked there, the typical individual tax rate was about 50%, though it has since grown to now be over 60%.

Incidentally, marginal tax rates above 100% are not unknown elsewhere in the world, including occasionally in the US -- but only when correctly computed, namely, considering withdrawal of means-tested benefits as a "tax". However, such crazy taxes typically hit, not world-famous book writers, but, rather, poor folks, especially ones in particularly difficult circumstances, such as single mothers: should their earnings just exceed certain thresholds, for each extra dollar earned, they would lose benefits, plus, owe federal, state, and local taxes, totaling more than a dollar. This hellish phenomenon is sometimes known as a "welfare trap", or, in Britain, "poverty trap" (the latter phrase has different denotations in the US).

Avoiding the risks of "welfare traps" is a key motivation for avoiding means-testing and going instead for "universal basic income" (as once supported by such diverse figures as Milton Friedman and MLK, and currently advocated by Presidential candidate Andrew Yang). It's an old idea: science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein, for example, advocated for it (under the monicker of "Social Credit") in his first novel, "For us, the living", 1938 (not to be confused with the black anti-utopia of "We, the living", first novel by Ayn Rand, 1936; Heinlein's title was probably not echoing Rand's, but rather Lincoln's Gettysburg Address).
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