The top European politicians have had problems agreeing on a EU budget deal, mostly because nobody wants to give up claims on other peoples money (can anyone say CAP?) and politicians generally feel they need to spend tax payer money so that we can all see how active they are. It’s very silly of course, and in the end it’s you and me that end up on the losing side. It could be considered interesting that someone would win sympathies from someone by taking that person’s money and spend it to show off for the very same person, but apparently it’s fairly effective. I guess if journalists would actually report it as a good thing when politicians waste less money we’d have a reasonable chance at getting better policies, but that doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon.
Anyway. Some French MEP has thought out a solution which I’m sure he feel is pretty brilliant. Let’s have a union wide tax on sending text messages from mobile phones. And while we’re at it, let’s tax e-mails as well! And he’s not kidding either. Reuters covers the story here, reporting that a 1.5 cent tax per sms and a 0.00001 cent tax per e-mail are the levels under consideration. The man behind it all, Alain Lamassoure, supposedly centre-right though his measures seem awfully leftish, explain the brilliance of it all like this:
This is peanuts, but given the billions of transactions every day, this could still raise an immense income.
Indeed. Since the tax is so low per payment we’ll hardly notice that someone is taking our money so that it can be redistributed to cows, but in the end we’ll still have given up millions of Euros. And since the proposal comes from the centre-right section of the European Parliament it doesn’t seem impossible that it will pass through. I hope I’m correct in assuming that every government has a chance to veto any attempts to introduce European taxation, though I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that there’s some clever way to get around that. If there isn’t though, I suppose we will have to hope that Britain and the new member countries can prevent this from happening. My own social democratic government would, should there be any media on this issue (which there won’t be), say that the proposal is stupid only to happily vote in favour of it.
The EU really could do useful things. Unfortunatly it seldom seems to do that, though.
(Thanks to Blog Dizz for the heads-up)