torsdag 16 november 2017

Useless talking shop

Gothenburg is in chaos this week, with roads closed, tram routes cut and buses being sent on long diversions because the city is the choice of location for an EU talking shop, under the title "Social Summit for fair jobs and Growth"

"Together with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven will host a Social Summit in Gothenburg on 17 November 2017, focusing on promoting fair jobs and growth. The Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth will gather heads of state or government, the social partners and other key players to work together on a more social Europe and to promote fair jobs and growth. 

"Well-functioning and fair European labour markets, effective and sustainable social protection systems and the promotion of social dialogue at all levels will be at the heart of the summit agenda."

Given the absence of a coherent theory of how the economy works, this expensive talking shop - with a lunch bill of £60 per head - can amount to little more than an exercise in virtue signalling.

Every EU country runs a tax system where the bulk of public revenue is raised through jobs taxes in one form or another. Sweden is one of the worst of all, with high a tax on income, starting at a negligible threshold, and a hefty payroll tax and value added tax at 25% (VAT - in Sweden, MOMS), with no threshold for registration and no exemption from food or other essentials.

VAT at a minimum rate of 15% is a condition of membership of the EU. It would be difficult to think of a worse tax, since it applies precisely at the point where supply meets demand. It is also subject to evasion and fraud on an industrial scale, as the EU is the first to admit.

One might have thought that EU leaders would be sitting down and discussing how to relieve their half-billion people of the burdens which they have imposed for the past half-century, and which stand in the way of fair jobs and growth.

The conference was a security headache and meant that those attending were effectively prisoners in the hotel compound and the conference area a couple of miles apart from each other. What made the news was a complaint on Twitter by the police on duty, which were handed lunch bags containing baguettes described as "inedible", while the politicians were sitting in the warm and getting lunches at over £60 per head. All of which has done nothing to enhance the image of the EU among the local populace.

The choice of Gothenburg was bizarre, as Sweden has dozens of suitable rural and island locations which would have been easy to secure, and would have given the politicians a chance to relax and enjoy the scenery during their breaks.

1 kommentar:

Curtis sa...

Nah, one would not think that the EU wishes to relieve any burdens of its populace.

The VAT disease is spreading to the Middle East too. Not sure how long Hong Kong can hold out.

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