Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘European Parliament’

What’s the most noxious example of hypocrisy from the political class?

Is it left wingers from Obama’s cabinet utilizing tax havens while supporting higher taxes for the rest of us peasants?

HypocrisyOr how about politicians who voted for Obamacare and are now trying to exempt themselves and their staff from the law?

The limousine liberals who had a press conference for higher taxes and then rejected requests for them to pay more?

Or the Canadian politician who supports government-run healthcare for others, yet went to America for heart surgery?

Those are all good choices, but our old friend Dan Hannan from the European Parliament has another contestant. His tax-hungry colleagues (like their American counterparts) are bashing Apple, Google, and other multinationals for legally minimizing their tax burdens.

Yet as Dan explains, parliamentarians from 24 out of 27 nations get a sweetheart deal and pay a very low flat tax.

I don’t think I’ve posted any of Hannan’s material since a speech on the European racket in 2009 and two great speeches on taxation in 2010, so I’m glad I had a chance to rectify that oversight.

But I must say none of these examples of hypocrisy can compete with the bureaucrats from the OECD and IMF, both of whom get completely tax-free salaries while pushing for higher taxes on the rest of us.

Read Full Post »

I’ve been writing too much about the Ryan budget, the government shutdown, and other fiscal policy issues. Time for some wholesome politician bashing.

But I’m not going to pick on the U.S. Congress, which is one of my favorite targets. Instead, we’re going to cross the ocean and mock the political elite of the European Parliament (a.k.a., the Potemkin-Village legislature). These lawmakers don’t really have any real responsibility. They largely exist to give faux democratic legitimacy to the decisions of the European Commission.

But they have figured out how to butter their own bread. They are provided lavish pay and benefits in exchange for very little work. And they get all sorts of perks that might cause even American politicians to blush with embarrassment.

For example, they automatically get to travel in business class, courtesy of the long-suffering taxpayers of Europe. And when somebody has the gall to suggest that this is a waste of money, the politicians link arms and defend their privileged status.

Here are some excerpts from a report in the EU Observer.

MEPs have said parliament’s budget should be increased by 2.3 percent next year, at the same time rejecting a proposal for euro-deputies to take more economy class flights in future. …In adopting the report on Wednesday, MEPs also rejected an amendment to save money by ensuring flights under four hours were carried out on economy class, citing procedural reasons. At present, MEP travel is reimbursed to the level of a business class flight or a first class rail ticket. The rejected amendment would have saved between €15 to €20 million a year… A parliamentary source defended the decision. “Most MEPs agree that economy-flex tickets are okay, but they think the budget procedure is not the way to do this,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Read Full Post »

I never thought “penile implant” was a term I would use on this blog, but that’s because I never thought I would read a story about taxpayer funding of the procedure. The only good news is that this is a story about fringe benefits for the politicians and bureaucrats in Brussels, so European taxpayers are being raped (no pun intended) rather than American taxpayers. But phallic implants are just the tip (no pun intended) of the iceberg. European taxpayers also provide unlimited viagra, heroin replacement drugs such as methadone, and mud baths to the euro-crat elite. Even American politicians haven’t figured out how to bilk taxpayes like this (or, if they have, they are clever enough to keep the information hidden).

EURO MEPs can claim for viagra on their health insurance – and the taxpayer picks up the bill. All Brussels officials and politicians can get the sex aid drug for free if needed. They can even claim for heroin replacement methadone under the European Commission scheme. Other free options include willy implants, the UK Independence Party discovered. Marta Andreasen, an MEP for the party, said: “It is utterly bonkers what British taxpayers are funding for Eurocrats. “Surely if they want these things, they should be able to pay themselves. It is a total waste of taxpayers’ cash.” …Last year it was revealed MEPs receive public funding for massages and feng shui. Other perks which qualify include mud baths, hydromassage and mild electric shock treatment. The TaxPayers’ Alliance last night blasted the wasteful perks in Brussels. Spokesman Matthew Sinclair said: “Taxpayers expect to see their money spent on providing essential services, not Viagra. The Government should insist on a better deal from Brussels.”

P.S. I’m very proud of myself for resisting the impulse to make jokes about “stimulus.”

Read Full Post »

It seems that the European Union’s governing entities, the European Commission and the semi-ceremonial European Parliament, combine the worst features of statism and collectivism from the entire continent. The Euro-crats make lots of noises about subsidiarity and other policies to leave decision making in the hands of national and local governments, but virtually every policy coming from Brussels is a new power grab for unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats. The latest example is possible EU-wide driving laws for the purposes of imposing absurdly low speed limits and to requiring foolish rules against more comfortable and safer large cars. Here’s what the UK-based Express wrote about the topic:

Brussels bureaucrats want to slap draconian European Union driving laws on Britain’s roads in a new “green” campaign on motorists, it emerged last night. Measures being considered include a barrage of new maximum speed limits in town and city areas. British motorists could also be forced to undertake exams in “environmentally-friendly” road skills as part of an EU-wide overhaul of driving tests. And many large cars and other so-called gas-guzzling vehicles face being banned from newly-declared “green zones” in urban centres. The latest threat of meddling from Brussels comes in an Action Plan on Urban Mobility drawn up by European Commission transport chiefs. …Mats Persson, of the Euro-sceptic think tank Open Europe, commented: “This illustrates that the EU simply can’t stop interfering in every aspect of people’s lives.”

Meanwhile, a different tentacle of the European octopus is proposing that the European Union be given the power to audit budget numbers from member nations. Given the fiscal fiasco in Greece, this seems like it might be a reasonable step – until one remembers that the EU’s auditors every year give a failing grade to the EU’s own budget practices. The EU Observer reports on the issue, but the phrase “blind leading the blind” somehow did not get included:

…the European Commission has indicated it will seek audit powers for the EU’s statistics office, Eurostat, in order to verify elements of national government accounts. …Speaking to journalists after a meeting of EU finance ministers on Tuesday (19 January), outgoing EU economy commissioner Joaquin Almunia said greater Eurostat auditing powers could have avoided the mistakes that led to the Greek revision. He said the commission will propose “a new regulation in order to obtain powers, which we’ve already requested, to give Eurostat the possibility of carrying out audits.”

Last but not least, that same EU Observer story has a tiny bit of good news, or at least a dark cloud with a silver lining. Some of Europe’s governments want to impose an EU-wide tax on banks. This certainly fits the theme of ever-growing levels of bureaucracy and interference from Brussels, but the good news is that there is still (even under the statist Lisbon Treaty) a national veto on tax matters. So even though some of the big nations in Europe want to demagogue against the financial sector, the EU’s taxation commissioner (and former communist from Hungary) sadly indicated that such a tax probably would not make it through the process:

While discussion on Greece took up considerable time, EU finance ministers did have an opportunity to discuss a Swedish proposal for an EU-wide bank levy to mitigate the effects of future financial crises. …British, Belgian and German ministers were amongst those who showed moderate support for the idea. However, outgoing EU taxation commissioner Laszlo Kovacs said it was unlikely to fly because of EU unanimity voting in the area of taxation.

Read Full Post »

I don’t really know much about the UKIP Party from the U.K. They are anti-centralization, which is something to admire, but I vaguely recall that a few of their members were caught up in an expenses scandal. In any event, their leader has a great speech about the anti-democratic nature of the European Union.

Read Full Post »

Politicians from high-tax nations hate tax competition. It’s hard to turn people into tax slaves, after all, if they can shift economic activity to a less oppressive nation. But this is old news. What is worth noting, though, is the lengths to which the statists will go to push their agenda. Euractiv.com notes that a new report from the European Parliament says politicians should take advantage of the economic crisis to push for tax harmonization. Needless to say, there is no reason to think that tax harmonization is ever a good idea, regardless of the economy’s performance (though there are good reasons to fear that long-run growth would be even more anemic in Europe if taxes were harmonized – which means, not surprisingly, that nations with more reasonable tax rates would be forced to adopt the bad policies of their collectivist neighbors). It’s also predictable that the political elite in Brussels was utterly insincere in their promises to Ireland that tax harmonization would not be on the agenda if the Lisbon Treaty was enacted:

The economic crisis could present an opportunity to harmonise taxation policy across EU member states, according to officials at the European Parliament who contributed to a major report on the future development of the EU. …The comprehensive document, released with minimal fanfare at the end of 2009, was prepared by researchers in the EU assembly’s five policy departments. …The report sets out three possible scenarios likely to emerge over the next five-to-ten years, saying further harmonisation of direct taxation would be “desirable but has not been realistic until now”. Unified corporate tax rates, a long-standing target of European federalists, is set out as an objective. This will cause controversy in some corners, not least in Ireland, which last year was given assurances by European leaders that the Lisbon Treaty would not affect its relatively low corporate tax regime. The officials suggest the window of opportunity may not last long. …”The problem with common fiscal and tax policies is that decisions in the EU are taken on a unanimity basis and the European Parliament has little legislative role,” according to the report.

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: