dimarts, 23 d’agost de 2011

On sheep and shepherd

In some countries, the rich are claiming higher taxation for themselves. This new trend was started by the USA billionaire celebrity Warren Buffet. He was shocked about having to pay proportionally less than any other person in his office for his federal tax bill, and decided to write an open letter to the New York Times entitled "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich". Next were the French. Sixteen of the wealthiest individuals, including l'Oreal heiress Mrs. Bettencourt, asked also for a reduction in their exceptional tax-breaks to contribute to manage the country’s public debt: Taxez-nous! was their desperate claim.

These altruistic gestures are deeply disturbing. What is wrong in the world when the privileged are publicly admitting that their shamefully beneficial position is just too unfair? How can be possible that the beneficiaries of a wrongful situation are precisely the ones pushing for a change? And what is going to happen if the policy makers do not follow their advice? They will have to take the streets. Imagine a demonstration of chairmen of companies, aristocrats and investors shouting in the street things like "We are rich, but not stupid!" and holding banners with slogans like "Higher taxes for us!" or “Tax me please!”. That would be an interesting picture.

Stendhal said that "The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same". This time, the shepherd’s speech was too convincing. We have believed that only by pampering the great fortunes, we all would achieve prosperity. This is obviously far from happening. On the other hand, we have also been told that the burden of the crisis had to fall on the sheep’s back and the shepherds must remain untouched: reducing public services and cutting benefits, but leaving extraordinary tax-breaks for the super-rich. Surprisingly, no major organized protests have happened so far. Indeed, the sheep still look quiet and sleepy, and keep following the path they have been told to follow. On the contrary, some shepherds are raising voices, apparently against their own interest. Maybe they think that even the sheep look quiet and sleepy they are not so. Actually, it might be better to continue with the "common effort" and "common interest" speech - even if that implies paying a bit more - rather than going back to old times of sheep vs. shepherd confrontation and all these angry animals asking for the shepherd’s head.

2 comentaris:

  1. Marc, nice to read your shinning ideas on the net.

    Just a couple of questions more:

    Who wants to be billioniare in a poor and putrid country?

    How can you make more money if the consumption is extremely low?

    Pay more taxes is the best investment you can make if you want to remain rich.

  2. Thanks Ignasi,
    It is certainly true. No decent people want to live in a poor and decadent environment. Indeed, the old elites think so, and this might be one of the reasons behind this "common effort" approach.
    Unfortunately a new pirate class is emerging and they only think in the short term. Financial pirates hate taxes. They just take the money and run!