The camel’s ass, again
March 23, 2013 § 46 Comments
Some folks are up in arms about the European Union’s attack on private property in Cyprus, and a few Internet pundits are updating their “THE END IS NEAR” signs with bigger, bolder fonts.
The Cypriot banking system is an order of magnitude larger than its GDP, largely (I am led to believe — I am certainly no expert on the Cyprus economy) on the back of Russian mafia money and other tax haven activity. The EU proposed that as a condition of getting EU bailout loans, Cyprus should levy a property tax on “money” deposited there (ahem). The different proposed tax brackets look to me like a rough proxy, targeting mainly foreigners who use the Cypriot system as a tax haven and locals who have profited from that use.
Like every politically expedient proxy it is a blunt instrument. People buy homes in “senior only” developments to keep out young thugs who tend to be disproportionately of certain races. But because you can’t say that out loud, “no residents under 50 permitted” as an HOA covenant accomplishes the goal without violating PC pieties. This is a rough cut, but it gets the job done while maintaining all the right fictions.
So yes, some “innocents” would probably be caught in the proposed Cypriot property tax net — if Cyprus hadn’t rejected the proposal, that is. And of course something like it may still happen on that wee Mediterranean isle.
But this hubbub hardly represents the camel’s nose in the tent. Large swaths of our economy are based on usury, which means that much of what constitutes “property” literally doesn’t exist as an ontologically real thing. I’ve made an argument that property taxes in general may be intrinsically unjust. I am open to a conclusion that property taxes in general (as opposed to taxes on transactions) are all basically forms of robbery perpetrated by the sovereign. But the notion that this rejected proposal on a small Mediterranean island somehow represents the end of private property is ridiculous: either private property ended long ago, the first time Mom and Pop had to sell the family home to get out from under property tax liabilities that they could not meet, or there is nothing to see here. I am somewhat inclined toward the former view.