Flat Tax, Not Flat Earth, Please!
Jeremy Hetherington-Gore Unleashed
09 September, 2007
This week saw flat-earther ETUC (the European Trade Union Confederation) claim that flat taxes 'put welfare systems under strain, increase poverty and do not not bring about higher rates of investment'.
These assertions are demonstrably false, so we have to look elsewhere for an explanation of the attachment of trades unions to high taxes.
It would be understandable, even if wrong-headed, if a trade union was against allowing a neighbouring country to become more competitive, since that might threaten the jobs of its own members; but it goes beyond that. ETUC actually wants taxes to be higher in all countries.
How can that be good for individual trades unionists? It might (temporarily) be good for the unemployed, the sick and the retired, some of whom, at least, will have been trades unionists. But if I, as a journalist, pay my dues to my union, I am expecting them to be spent in my interest, not to help the population at large to work less.
It seems that ETUC comes perilously close to Marxism in its ideas. Given that the EU's founding fathers in their unwisdom gave ETUC a lead role in the 'social contract' as it is played out in Brussels, that worries me. Instead of fiddling with their silly 'constitution', isn't it time that the EU's leaders got to grips with the antediluvian Backward Tendency eating at the community's vitals while its expensively shod foot soldiers spend taxpayers' money noshing beer and frittes in Brussels eateries?
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