The Obama Administration (and Bush / McCain / Romney would have been no better) looked around and were thinking
Yeah, that last one sounds about right. We'll go with that.
You should have professional magicians look at it. These are people who know how to find the "trick".
You nailed it. I was just reading about James Randi's debunking of the alleged psychic Uri Gellar, who had managed to fool a bunch of scientists back in the 1970s. Randi claimed that scientists are some of the easiest people to fool because, as you said, they operate under a lot of preconceived notions and once you figure out how to work around those it's a piece of cake. As Randi put it, to catch a magician (who are essentially people who fool people for a living) you send a magician.
To start with, I have no idea what the answer to this question is with regards to the Swedish system, but I've found that in many cases of solutions like this the "cost" paid by end users is heavily subsidized in other areas (in the US it's so common it can almost be assumed). So if the $40 / month pays for all of the capital costs, maintenance, depreciation, etc. then wonderful. Otherwise it's just accounting slight-of-hand - put a happy number out for the public, and if somebody digs and puts together real costs then they find that the real number is horrific.
On the other hand, in the US most major metropolitan areas (there are exceptions) have sold monopoly or duopoly franchises on internet service, which also distorts prices horribly and in other directions. I live in one of these areas, as do most of the people I know (I get to chose between mostly tolerable but pricey Cox, and utterly abhorrent AT&T - for practical purposes just one choice). In many cases these "utilities" are limited to certain profit levels, so they just adjust their costs up. Competition isn't magic; it just incentivizes aggressive pursuit of the best cost / quality tradeoffs (which are usually subjective and may vary significantly between individuals, eliminating the possibility of a good "one-size-fits-all" solution).
"People briefed on the matter" generally equals "deliberate leak, to move public opinion or at least test the waters."