Wednesday, October 31, 2012

In Greece the Problem Is Not High Taxes on Wealthy People – There Are High Taxes on Wealthy People

But the Wealthy People Just Don’t Pay Them

As the U. S. election winds down everyone needs to go back to looking at Europe, which continues to self-destruct.  At the front of the line is Greece, where austerity policy imposed by Germany is resulting in harsh, and even dire conditions for much of the populace.

The problem in Greece is that the government has been spending far more than it takes in, and often doing it in unproductive and wasteful ways.  But that is not all of the problem, it turns out wealthy people in Greece have been avoiding paying taxes, making the fiscal situation much worse.

Despite years of austerity, Athens's efforts to crack down on tax evasion—which costs the government as much as €28 billion a year, according to one recent study by Margarita Tsoutsoura of the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business—have been poor.

Few tax-dodging cases have been successfully prosecuted.

"Unfortunately, justice has been quick to move against those who reveal, while showing sluggishness against those who conceal, who lost, forgot, didn't see and didn't hear," said Greece's radical-left opposition party, Syriza.

So the big news in Greece is the publication of a list of wealthy tax payers who avoid paying taxes.

The list—and the failure of Greek authorities to act on it for two years—has touched off controversy in recent weeks in a country suffering through the fifth year of a grinding recession, with the government preparing an additional €13.5 billion ($17.5 billion) round of spending cuts and new tax measures.

European Pressphoto Agency
Costas Vaxevanis denied he violated 
privacy laws in publishing a list of 
Greeks with Swiss bank accounts.

And what has the brave and wonderful Greek government done, the government that has rained misery on the citizens.

ATHENS—Greek authorities arrested a celebrated investigative journalist Sunday after his magazine disclosed the names of several thousand Greeks with Swiss bank accounts, including members of the country's political and business elite, 

That’s right, law enforcement officials arrested the person who published the list.    Well at least we now have something billionaires in this country would approve of in Greece.

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