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Why are the taxes so high in Greece?
Excellent answer from Alket Cecaj, Alket Cecaj’s answer to Why are the taxes so high in Greece?
- Clientelism is how it started
- The government must provide; there isn’t a native notion of ground roots enterprise and small government. If the government must provide, well, that costs money. So far, as Alket argued, that’s no different from Scandinavia.
- Mistrust of institutions is how it is indulged
- This is the unhealthy flipside to clientelism, and that’s the kind of thing you don’t see in Scandinavia. Malcolm Gladwell actually used Greece as an example a decade ago. Greeks don’t dodge taxes because there’s lack of enforcement. Greeks dodge taxes because they don’t trust their government. Any more than their government trusts them. (Or rather, they only trust it to dispense clientelism.) The more they dodge taxes, the more the government taxes the dupes who still pay taxes.
- Inefficiency and profligacy is how it is perpetuated
- We’re a long, long way from Scandinavia now…
- Μαζί τα φάγαμε, as Pangalos said. “We wasted it together.” A genuine government–people collaboration.
- From time to time, even on Quora, someone brings up the reparations that Germany should have paid Greece for WWII—reparations that the Greek government had agreed to forego in the early 60s. If only those reparations had been paid, the argument goes, Greece wouldn’t be in the mess it is now. I was overjoyed to see a blog commenter snark once, “Right. Because we would have wisely invested that money, and not thrown it around to buy votes.”
- Neoliberal EU orthodoxy is how it has gone haywire.
- The Greek government can’t deflate its currency, and it needs to keep repaying impossible loans to its creditors; so it desperately raises whatever revenue it can, including taxing anyone left in Greece who still has any money. That of course guarantees that tradespeople are driven out of business or even further into the cash economy (has barter started there yet?); and any business that could have invested in Greece flees to Bulgaria instead.