Greece's tax system: An unemployed insider's view.... 16 replies

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#1 4 years ago

Or rather, two facts about Greece that annoy the hell out of an unemployed insider. Fact Ichi-gou (#1): Unemployed people have to pay taxes. Yeah, they do. Last I heard, if your income is null, you have to pay 700 EUR. Of course, that can be avoided. I am young and live with my parents, so if they gather enough receipts, I can get return of taxes (will go into this later) and get my money back. What about people who don't have that ability? You earn nothing but you have to get 700 EUR somehow. Fact Ni-gou (#2): Return of taxes. Basically a money-back guarantee from the Greek government. So, you do your tax papers, take them (along with the money, of course) to the Greek government. Your tax papers say you don't have enough income (like in the aforementioned case) so the Greek government gives you your 700 EUR back. Two problems with this. If you don't have the 700 EUR, you don't get it back so you still end up a tax evader. And even if you do, it's inefficient to give them the money so they can give them back. All they need to do is give you a paper that says "Don't pay this year". /end_rant_about_Greece.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#2 4 years ago

Are there no unemployment benefits in Greece? Easiest thing would be to subtract the tax from the benefits and pay them out for those who file a tax return.




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#3 4 years ago

There are some benefits. But you have to fulfill a lot of conditions to get them. And Greece doesn't operate on logic and efficiency. If it did, it might have been a little better. So that idiotic system is what people work with.




Admiral Donutz VIP Member

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#4 4 years ago

I guess the officials who conjured this all up are paid a bonus for every needless, frustrating and counter productive bit of bureaucracy that they can conjure up?




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#5 4 years ago

It's almost impossible to say why a sizeable bureaucracy functions the way it does. 'Government' is a vast network of various agencies, departments and offices - which interact with NGOs and elected officials in ways so complex that you cannot reasonably understand it without graphing it all up on computer and tagging the various information flows, departmental interests, and responsibilities and powers.

I'm not saying the bureaucrats didn't set things up this way, or that they didn't do it maliciously. But, equally, it's a hard question to answer what information should be shared between who, when and why, and how that's going to be processed.




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#6 4 years ago

Well, the could just observe how more efficient countries are run and adapt their own system. But, like Donutz said, there's profit in inefficiency. A lot of people found the easy job into the government, and if it starts doing things efficiently a lot of people are going to lose their jobs.




Zipacna

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#7 4 years ago

The question is what one means by doing it more efficiently. If one means Germany (as people with no understanding of the situation or a vested interest in lying about it often do), let me tell you that Germany is in a state not that drastically better than the other EU states. The thing is that there are a million tricks the government is pulling to make unemployment numbers, the state of our universities and the state of our social system look better. But sometimes, the lie becomes too big. For instance, just a couple of weeks ago, we were all told that we would basically get next to no pension money when we are retired. Because the people who are retired right now are now getting all the damned money. Great. This is not meant to condemn them - they are not exactly getting luxury pensions as well, but some of them can be (and I apologise for using this expression in the Pub) right dicks when trying to claim the money by saying that every generation that came after them is worthless and didn't work their entire lives.

Not to start a completely different topic here, but making the situation for the vast majority better is simply not possible so long as these countries: a) do not have a situation in which the vast majority of people firstly suddenly gains massive insight into who has been screwing them the entire time, secondly starts being interested in politics, and thridly makes it possible for actual journalists to bring them reliable news instead of what can only be described as party-line bovine excrement or b) abolish their oligarchical systems (nowadays in a brilliant propaganda piece also dubbed "representative democracy" - for which a citizen of Athens around 450 BCE would spit you in the face) and radically rethink their economic systems from market-conforming "democracy" to democracy-conforming markets.

In short, it is not as if unemployed people or, really, Greece in general would be that better off if they changed their way of working the government. They have almost no room to manoeuvre on the path the EU, its banking system and "the market" have set them on. Not to completely ignore the good things the EU has done, but ever since they just started shoveling countries with dramatically different economic and political systems into the system without an official way of getting out if needed, it has slowly turned into a nightmare for the populations of both the old and the new states.


[center]sigpic191442_14.jpg "I'm an amateur policeman and leisure time surgeon." Sounds insane? Welcome to the pain of historians and archaeolog



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#8 4 years ago

Here it is heard a lot that foreigners (especially Germans) say that Greece dragged the entire EU into crisis. As such, Germans are not particularly popular here. I am curious, do Germans say that Greece dragged the entire EU into crisis, and, if so, do they say it to demean them? (Not trying to be offensive to anyone, I am just a bystander, I'm not a Greek patriot or a German-lover, I merely want to know)




Rikupsoni

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#9 4 years ago

The nature of public administration was always different in Southern European countries. The best example is Italy: Northern Italy is industrialized and more well-off, while the south had a lot more unemployment. Public administration jobs were actually used as a form of welfare: Southern Italians got low-wage public jobs en masse. This was somewhat similar in Spain, Greece and Portugal. The whole culture towards the public administration was just different and it was contaminated with slacking and heavy bureaucracy. It's a cycle: when you have corruption, you have less trust and because of less trust the problem gets worse.

Generally the societies in the Nordic countries which have better systems have a high trust between citizens, high trust towards the police for example and low corruption. Some have attributed this for "Protestant work ethic" (Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism). As far as I know, the only place where it's opposite is Germany - the Southern Catholic industrial area is wealthier.




Zipacna

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#10 4 years ago

Uchuujin;5739740Here it is heard a lot that foreigners (especially Germans) say that Greece dragged the entire EU into crisis. As such, Germans are not particularly popular here. I am curious, do Germans say that Greece dragged the entire EU into crisis, and, if so, do they say it to demean them? (Not trying to be offensive to anyone, I am just a bystander, I'm not a Greek patriot or a German-lover, I merely want to know)[/QUOTE] Of course, there are Germans who think Greece is pulling everyone down. Just the same way I imagine there are Greeks who think Germany pushed them off the cliff. Certainly, Greece's current state is a problem for the EU. And yes, Germany can't exactly be absolved from all responsibility in this.

But just as there are Germans who want to berate Greece for what they perceive to be their fault (you often hear how sloppy Greece's organisation is supposed to be and that that is all the problem they have from those people - as if making "a German-style state" there would just make all the problems magically go away), in other words your basic populist, as you will find him in every single country, there is a large number of Germans who does not think so. Although I would like to say that it is the larger piece of the population, I am hesitant to do so, because that may just be the impression I get from the media I consume and the people I know. The biggest uncertainty here is the fact that the AfD and the CDU still got a large number of seats in the EU elections. Maybe Fancypants can lend his perspective on this question as well.

As I said, a large number does not agree with laying the blame at Greece' door, even though the perception of this in Greece may differ strongly because Angela Merkel (and I am really struggling with myself to not put any names to her that would be quite similar to those I would put to Thatcher) dominates the government. I can see how people would get to the conclusion that "Germany" is against them - even if I do not approve of the lack of research anyone will have put into this if they support this opinion.

I would say that it is a fairly simple and at the same time rather complicated division in Germany. A typical voter of the CDU / CSU (Christian democrats) or FDP (economic libertarians) will probably tend to put the blame with Greece. A typical voter of DieLinke (democratic socialists) or Die Piraten (social libertarians) will seek to blame the EU and the market economy in general (I would count myself into this political camp). Voters of the SPD (social democrats) and B'90/Die Grünen (Green party) will likely be divided, although I would assume a majority of SPD voters to go into the left-wing camp. The Greens have become so upper middle class in the last two decades, it is hard to tell. Interestingly enough, the official party line of the AfD ("alternative for Germany", the first "successful" populist party the cat coughed up in Germany) would blame the EU, while I would suspect many of their voters to blame Greece just as much, especially since there have been more and more reports of the party drifting towards a radical right wing, with the original academic founders jumping off the ship left and right.

Apart from the standard voters, there is a part of the German population that, at least to me, seems to be too confused about what to believe anymore and apparently goes back and forth between blaming Greece and blaming the EU, depending on which one is currently in the spotlight. Two months or so before the EU elections, it was all blaming the EU, from the people, the media, everyone. The only thing we heard out of Greece during that time was worry about extremist nationalists (as, by the way, we heard from nationalists and populists in the Netherlands, France, the UK, Hungary, Austria, and so on and so forth).

I know that is a deeply unsatisfying picture I have painted for you here, but it is the best I could do.

[QUOTE=Rikupsoni;5739750]The nature of public administration was always different in Southern European countries. The best example is Italy: Northern Italy is industrialized and more well-off, while the south had a lot more unemployment. Public administration jobs were actually used as a form of welfare: Southern Italians got low-wage public jobs en masse. This was somewhat similar in Spain, Greece and Portugal. The whole culture towards the public administration was just different and it was contaminated with slacking and heavy bureaucracy. It's a cycle: when you have corruption, you have less trust and because of less trust the problem gets worse.

Generally the societies in the Nordic countries which have better systems have a high trust between citizens, high trust towards the police for example and low corruption. Some have attributed this for "Protestant work ethic" (Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism). As far as I know, the only place where it's opposite is Germany - the Southern Catholic industrial area is wealthier.

Well, these may be things you often hear, but quite frankly, they are rather empty from my point of view. Especially attributing these traits to certain faiths is something you hear often, yet historically, there is very little pointing to any benefit in that. Fifty years ago, Bavaria was rather undeveloped in comparison to some other areas of Germany. That was due to industry being focused around "Saarland" and "Ruhrgebiet". Not because of their faiths or because the rulers of these areas had done excellent work because they were protestant - because of the minerals and coal to be found there. The reason Scandinavia was not hit as hard by economic developments is that these countries still manage to hold a certain distance from other countries economically, where all others are almost forced closer together. For a long time, the focus of economic development and linking lay on Southern Europe. Now that the economy was hit hard, Southern Europe is as well. The same as for Scandinavia basically also holds true for Britain.

Coming back to the religion thing: The reason Ireland was hit hard by the economic crisis is that they built strongly on new technologies and banking to modernise their countries economy in a large dash. When these industries were hit hard, Ireland naturally came into problems - not because a majority is Catholic, just as much as it did not come to pass because of former British occupation. It is a simple fact that the one thing that protected Northern Europe is closer bonding into nations and less bonding into the EU - it just so happens that this coincides with the distribution of Protestantism. Germany had a hard time getting the curve in the 19th century - had Prussia not eventually occupied the largest part of what is now Germany, maybe the country's development would have taken an entirely different turn in all the small principalities.

In general, matters of faith have shrunk in the field of economy and politics throughout the Early Modern and, although the 19th century experienced a great revival of religious fervour, by that time, it had long stopped being the dominating factor in a country's political and economic evolution.


[center]sigpic191442_14.jpg "I'm an amateur policeman and leisure time surgeon." Sounds insane? Welcome to the pain of historians and archaeolog



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