Libera’s guest of the week M.Sc, D.Soc.Sc Teemu Lehtinen is the long-serving CEO of the Taxpayers Association of Finland. Lehtinen has had many positions of trust and expertise on both the public and private sides.
What is Finland’s greatest challenge?
“At the moment, the greatest challenge is the lack of perspective on all sides. Short-term adjustment measures steamroller over lasting development in politics just as in economic life. Politicians cobble framework packages together and companies cut costs, but people do not dare to take up proper reforms or investments. Short-sighted and stop-start policies, for their part, feed uncertainty about coming decisions, which is the worst kind of poison for willingness to invest.”
What is Finland’s greatest opportunity?
“There is a great opportunity to be found in decision-making, which requires a long-term and coherent approach. Finland has all the prerequisites for success, but there is no room to wait for problems to fix themselves. Politically, the greatest opportunity is, from now on, to replace short-term adjustment packages and tightening up of taxes with far-reaching structural reforms. The joint social and health project of the Government and the opposition is the first sign of this.”
What would you change at once?
“I would immediately end the general tightening up of taxation as a method of adjusting the public economy. During this electoral term we have seen what depending on continually tightening up taxation leads to. Private consumption and investments wither away and the public economy can no longer be got into a state of balance. It is not worth going down this dead end any more.”