The swedish writer Astrid Lindgren had to pay 102% tax in 1974. She wrote a satirical short story about it, which likely changed the outcome of the upcoming election.
Astrid Lindgren grew up in Näs, near Vimmerby, Småland and many of her books are based on her family and childhood memories and landscapes. However, Pippi Longstocking, one of her most famous books, was set in Gotland.
Lindgren was the daughter of Samuel August Ericsson and Hanna Johnsson. She had two sisters and a brother, Gunnar Ericsson, who eventually became a member of the Swedish parliament.
Upon finishing school, Lindgren took a job with the a local newspaper in Vimmerby. When she became pregnant with the chief editor’s child[clarification needed] in 1926, he proposed marriage. She declined and moved to Stockholm, learning to become a typist and stenographer (she would later write most of her drafts in stenography). In due time, she gave birth to her son, Lars, in Copenhagen and left him in the care of a foster family.
Although poorly paid, she saved whatever she could and travelled as often as possible to Copenhagen to be with Lars, often just over a weekend, spending most of her time on the train back and forth. Eventually, she managed to bring Lars home, leaving him in the care of her parents until she could afford to raise him in Stockholm.
In 1931, she married her boss, Sture Lindgren (1898–1952). Three years later, in 1934, Lindgren gave birth to her second child, Karin, who became a translator. The character Pippi Longstocking was invented for her daughter to amuse her while she was ill and bed-ridden. Lindgren later related that Karin had suddenly said to her, “Tell me a story about Pippi Longstocking,” and the tale was created in response to that remark.
The family moved in 1941 to an apartment on Dalagatan, with a view over Vasaparken, where Lindgren lived until her death in 2002, at the age of 94.
Lindgren was almost blind a few years before her death.
Story about 102% Tax
“Pomperipossa in Monismania” (also called Pomperipossa in the World Of Money) is a satirical story written by the Swedish children’s book author Astrid Lindgren in response to the 102% marginal tax rate that she incurred in 1976. It was published starting on 3 March 1976 in the Stockholm evening tabloid Expressen and created a major debate about the Swedish tax system.
The marginal tax rate above 100%, dubbed the ‘Pomperipossa effect’, was due to tax legislation that required self-employed individuals to pay both regular income tax and employer’s fees.
The story, a satirical allegory about a writer of children’s books in a distant country, led to a stormy tax debate and is often attributed as a decisive factor in the defeat of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, for the first time in 40 years, in the elections later the same year. She, however, continued to support the party for all her life.