When nearly half the population of the country have overdue debt to the tax bureau, it is abundantly clear that something is not right with the government’s tax policy.
According to the latest official data, 4.17 million citizens find it impossible to pay their taxes because, in the vast majority of cases, they simply do not have the money.
The result is that tax authorities seize bank accounts and other assets. Already over one million citizens have had assets seized and another 700,000 are waiting their turn, as banks and tax offices have an enormous backlog of seizures.
Obviously, there were and are problems with tax evasion and tax avoidance. But the logic of the government in collecting revenues proved catastrophic. They raised tax brackets to the ceiling, with the belief that whoever has more than the bare necessities is rich. They drained already decimated incomes, leading hundreds of thousands of citizens to an economic impasse.
When just for 2017 overdue taxes amount to over 10 billion euros, it is clear that society’s limits of endurance have been long exhausted. In order for Mr. Tsipras and his associates to play the philanthropists who hand out poverty stipends at the end of the year, they managed to impoverish a large majority of society.
Instead of seeking ways for the economy to start growing and creating income and jobs, they are draining businesses, professionals and workers, so as to celebrate the super primary surplus that they achieved and to keep handing out crumbs as a consolation prize.
An economy that lacks a motive to produce, with workers who lose half their income in taxes and contributions, will go nowhere. It will remain in a state of semi-consciousness, unable to make the development leap that would help public revenues.
Now we are constantly draining a half-empty barrel and tax authorities demand that the last unable citizens deprive themselves of their last available money. This is a recipe for disaster. If it continues, it will not only undermine the government’s success story about a return to growth and an end of memorandums, but also long maintain a state of dormant bankruptcy, with painful consequences for society and the economy.