As much as Finance Minister Tsakalotos tries with his odd and often incomprehensible Anglo-Saxon humour, it is somewhat difficult to persuade citizens that over-taxation has not hit the ceiling.
Unfortunately, for those who are still able to pay, taxes are not going at a caterpillar’s pace, but at a super high speed. [Tsakalotos told parliament that the main opposition has set the bar so low that a caterpillar with tuberculosis could climb over it].
Alternate Minister Houliarakis indirectly admitted as much. The day before Tsakalotos’ speech, he told parliament that the over-taxation of the middle class is a conscious choice, to allow the government to conduct a redistribution of income in favour of the poorer, weaker classes.
The decision to impose high taxes, as the troika of Greece’s creditors has often pointed out, is entirely the decision of the Greek government, and not theirs. The fixation of the left-wing with a tax-centred policy has long been known, pushing income downward toward the lowest level of survival.
Hence, the government may be celebrating the super budget surplus that it achieved, but it does not take into account the negative consequences that it produces in the economy, households and businesses. It keeps growth down, squeezing available income and any deposits, so that it can implement a policy of partisan motivations, handing out gifts with an eye to gaining votes.
It is characteristic that in exceeding targets for primary surpluses, according to the Parliament Budget Office, the surplus will reach 7.4 billion euros in the 2016-2018 period, depriving the economy of valuable resources, in order to distribute less than one billion euros to the weaker, supposedly, segments of society.
As hard as Mr. Tsakalotos tries to convince us that taxes have not been hiked, he is belied by bare reality. Those who still have a job see it every day, as do the freelance professionals who have endured, and the businesses that have survived in a climate of economic suffocation.
So, to recall the humour of Mr. Tsakalotos, as long as this political rationale prevails, development will be coming at the pace of a sluggish caterpillar with tuberculosis…