Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos’ admission yesterday that high taxation has made things tough for the middle class reflects only a part of reality.
The essence is that over-taxation has literally brought a large segment of society to its knees. Data just released by tax authorities prove that.
In December alone, citizens’ overdue tax debt rose by 1.3 billion euros. For all of 2017, that amount was 13 billion euros.
It is blatantly obvious that the endurance of households and professionals has been exhausted.
When one in two citizens – four million tax registration numbers – has overdue debt, one need not be a political philosopher to realise that this is a borderline situation.
The finance minister promises that if all goes well in the coming years, taxes overall will be reduced by 3.5 billion euros. But that hypothesis is far from certain, as every day it is being confirmed more and more that the supervision of creditors will be long and extremely tight.
The European Commission’s Declan Costello said it would be ten years. That was confirmed by Mr. Tsakalotos, who said the supervision will focus on fiscal targets and how they are being met. The targets will be specific and binding, which casts doubt on any projection about tax cuts and social benefits.
Many issues and fronts remain open. Mr. Costello said that it will take at least five years for tax policy to begin to produce palpable results.
Given the prevalent political climate, the return to normalcy that the economy and society need is getting harder, instead of being expedited.
With the obvious danger of more and more citizens, including professionals, being unable to meet their obligations, debts will rise, and the light at the end of the tunnel will be nowhere to be seen.