HAVING a weak currency has one huge advantage – there are a lot of millionaires running around. When the Slovak crown was still in circulation anyone whose assets currently exceed €33,000 could pride themselves on being a millionaire. And that memory serves the current cabinet well.
Robert Fico has decided to tax his way out of the public finance deficit but pretends that regular folks will not bear the burden. No, it’s the “millionaires” who will have to help out. The spin would never work with the new currency. And finding a good catch phrase explaining why someone with a €100,000 mortgage or a monthly salary only around a thousand euros or two should be seen as anything other than a member of the middle class would be difficult.
It is legitimate to ask the middle class to pay more, it just sounds much worse on the evening news and it places the government in a position to plead, rather than demand from a position of just anger at “the rich”.
More redistribution of wealth and a contribution to the common good could sound like a good plan even if you are not extremely well off: if you completely ignore the Slovak reality.
Here, the state still plans projects such as a website monitoring traffic worth €150 million and is run by people such as transportation minister Ján Počiatek, known for spending some free time on the yacht of financial sharks just before the announcement of the euro conversion rate. There you had some real millionaires in the making.
A lack of competence, ideas and credibility on the part of the government make the idea of higher taxes almost impossible to swallow even if one admits that any government would be forced to introduce them.
In short, the Slovak middle class currently faces two enormous challenges. One is surviving the Fico administration. And the other is the unhappy prospect of new turbulence in the eurozone – which could perhaps turn them all back into Slovak millionaires once again.
31. May 2012 at 0:00 | Lukáš Fila