OPINION

Primitive beats ineffective

George Papandreou?s government has well and truly entered the zone of the surreal with its ministers increasingly looking like heroes in a Dostoevsky novel, who, unafraid of the ludicrous, march ahead, full of confidence, right to the edge of the cliff.

Just before Parliament voted on a bill outlining an emergency property tax on Tuesday, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos surprised both his associates and taxpayers when he announced that people with declared incomes of 100,000 euros will have to procure 60,000 euros? worth of receipts when they file their tax returns next year. In other words, he said that people need to spend 60 percent or more of their income in order to avoid paying more taxes.

The problem with most eloquent people is that after a while their words lose their significance; they become pieces of a mosaic laid any which way, ending up in an abstract composition that is completely incomprehensible.

Maybe Venizelos?s announcement was an effort to placate the middle classes after slashing their salaries and pensions, or maybe he seriously believes that the way to crack down on tax evasion is to compel citizens to wage a daily battle against it by demanding receipts, turning professionals against one another.

The government has obviously forgotten that the state exists and is funded for the sole purpose of performing such tasks and not in order to force the citizens to act on their own or to effectively take the law into their own hands.

Though in the grips of the delusion that bringing Greece into the eurozone meant never-ending prosperity, the government needs to realize that its economic system belongs in the Ottoman era, and that as such it should have the same policies, such as, for example, a capital tax.

In the present day, this means that a freelance professional who has been in business for 20 years and has a presumed income of a certain amount depending on the area where he or she is working should therefore pay a flat tax rate based on that. The solution may seem primitive, but it could do until the pseudo-innovators find a better and faster way of collecting revenue than slashing pensions and salaries.

The government even goes so far as to brag about its policies, saying that it is saving the country and keeping it in the eurozone. It has obviously failed to see that its amateurish handling of the crisis merely undermines the euro in Greece and effectively puts Greece outside the European system.