Lagarde sparks outrage with Greek tax comments
| By Europe correspondent Philip Williams | Updated May 28, 2012 08:33:19 |
Greek leaders have condemned International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde for her comments about Greeks not paying taxes.
In an interview published on Friday, Ms Lagarde told Britain’s Guardian newspaper that Greeks must “help themselves collectively” by all paying taxes.
She told the newspaper she was more concerned about Africans in poverty than Greeks in the economic crisis.
“I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day, sharing one chair for three of them, and who are very keen to get an education,” she said when asked about Greece.
“I have them in my mind all the time. Because I think they need even more help than the people in Athens.
“As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time.
“All these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax.”
The reaction in Greece has been one of outrage.
The head of Greece’s Pasok party, Evangeos Venizelos, said she had insulted the Greek people.
“Nobody can humiliate the Greek people during the crisis,” he told an election rally.
“I say this today addressing specifically Ms Lagarde… who with her stance insulted the Greek people.”
The head of the far left Syriza party in Greece, Alexis Tsipras, seized on her comments to assert his stance as a defender against economic cuts.
“The last thing we seek in Greece is her sympathy. Greek workers pay their taxes, which are unbearable,” he said.
“For tax-evaders, she should turn to Pasok and New Democracy to explain to her why they haven’t touched the big money and have been chasing the simple worker for two years.”
In Ms Lagarde’s native France a government spokeswoman described her comments as “rather simplistic and stereotypical”.
Ms Lagarde received more than 10,000 messages, many of them obscene, on her Facebook page, where posts typically draw a couple of hundred comments.
Later, she issued a Facebook message saying she was sympathetic to the Greek people and the challenges they are facing.
“That’s why the IMF is supporting Greece in its endeavour to overcome the current crisis,” she wrote.
100 years ago there was no ‘income-tax’ across any of the major economies of the world. The research being undertaken for the EYE-BALL Guru ‘Green Paper’ due out later this year, has delved into history going back 100 years. How things have changed in that 100 years!
As a generalisation it can be said that 100 years ago – the only people who paid tax were the wealthy – yet in the time-frame elapsed – some 70% of all tax’s collected by Western Governments now come from those who never paid tax 100 years ago – i.e. the payee tax payer or the employees and workers.
As for the wealthy – their tax burden has diminished by the same proportions. Put a different way – the Wealthy via self-interest Legislation have avoided their previous tax burdens, and passed the responsibility of funding Governments to the workers.
So when the evidence of Greece’s tax collections is examined, including the reports of the wealthy and high paying professional workforce bribing their way to avoid their tax burden, it is understandable why the Greeks are sensitive about outsiders claiming they should be paying their taxes.
My question is why has the tax burden shifted and now so relient on the payee workforce in the last 100 years?