Now that Europe’s decades-long experiment with socialism is unraveling, what keeps me up at night is when the people will get upset enough that they’ll start demanding (and getting) a little nationalism to go with their socialism. It’s kind of the national sport over there, once they eventually run out of other people’s money. Not that EU governments have given up looking under the sofa cushions, which they apparently also hope to use as floatation devices:
Senior advisers to Chancellor Angela Merkel are pushing for better-off households to pay towards the cost of any future bail-outs for the weaker members of the single currency.
The proposals, from members of Germany’s council of economic experts, raise the prospect of taxes being imposed on property in a country like Spain if its government was forced to seek a bail-out.
The council, known as the “Five Wise Men”, is often used to test new policies that are later adopted officially.
Might as well call them the Five Wise Guys, as in, “F— you, pay me.” Government by goodfellas is the inescapable consequence of government by best intentions. The Beast must be fed.
And notice please that this “wealth tax” proposal would fall on “better-off households” in Germany. Which, compared to Spain or Greece, is pretty much all of them. Or at least, pretty much all of them in the former West part of Germany. Keep in mind that Germans have been paying a 5.5% income tax surcharge since reunification, to pay for bringing the former East up to the standards and wealth of the former West. It’s expected to remain in play until at least 2019. That’s a lot of spreading the wealth around already, but at least the Deutschmarks — excuse me, euros — have all stayed inside the family, so to speak.
How much is it going to cost mittelklasse Germans to bring up 47 million Spaniards, when 20-plus years of subsidies still haven’t brought up 17 million Ossies?
That’s a good question. Another good question is: What the hell is Merkel thinking?
This kind of proposal doesn’t just give pause to German taxpayers. It also gives a leg up to German nationalist groups. So far, the skinheads and whatnot have been mostly confined to frustrated young men in the former East. What happens when similar (and more reasonable) grievances become commonplace among middle-aged Germans along the Rhine?