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thomasquinn 32989 user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 17 Jun 12, 08:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

As you probably all know, most of the world is currently experiencing the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. Nearly all governments (except the Scandinavian countries and the U.S.) are dealing with this crisis in a way that cannot be described as anything short of "incompetent". However, recently the Dutch (far) right-wing government has taken matters a step further, and have compounded incompetence with outright evil.

To put things shortly, The Netherlands will have to free up 18 billion euro's to fix our national problems. The left wants so save about half that amount through spending cuts, and the other half through selective taxation (mostly for highly polluting industries and big business). The right wants to get the entire sum from spending cuts. If this were the whole story, it'd just be a matter of different opinions, and I'd side with the left out of ideological views, and would respect the position of the right. However, a much more sinister thing is in play.

To their, completely feigned, shock, Dutch political leadership 'discovered' that The Netherlands are a tax haven when the Obama-administration published a list of tax havens where Americans illegally store their money. In fact, this had been known for years if not decades, and had been covered up by successive governments.

On average, a Dutchman can expect to pay slightly more than 40% of his/her pre-tax income in income tax. The rate is slightly lower for lower incomes, and slightly higher for higher incomes. A significant percentage of this income tax is later returned in the form of subsidies on numerous things, including either rent or mortgage, healthcare and schooling.

Dutch businesses pay a similar amount of taxes, so very few people complain about the system in general, although everyone complains about the taxes he/she pays him/herself, of course.

Over the past few years, two extremely disgusting semi-legal constructions created by the Dutch right-wing governments between ca. 1970 and 2010 have become known.

First of all, the lesser of the two evils, it has been made public by several newspapers that the Dutch IRS doesn't really check the tax statements given by businesses, opting in stead to trust them fully. This means that a private citizen committing tax fraud is more than 100x more likely to be caught than a business. The Dutch treasury misses out on an estimated 5 billion euros per year through this (this estimate, given after political pressure from the opposition, is from the Dutch IRS itself).

That is shocking enough, but there is something even worse going on. Foreign companies with a branch in the Netherlands would normally fall under ordinary Dutch law. However, the classical liberal party (VVD) in the Netherlands has created a very dodgy racket to help its foreign friends: if a foreign business is large enough to have *multiple* branches in the Netherlands, they suddenly qualify for a very complex construct called "deelnemingsvrijstelling" ("exemption because of participation"). This constuct means that only the official "parent" company pays taxes over its income, and all subsidiaries are (almost) completely exempt from taxation. Needless to say that several multinationals have (ab)used this system resulting in an official figure of...20 billion (!) euros a year in missed revenues for the Dutch treasury.

So, the VVD wants to save €18,000,000,000.- by cutting social security, healthcare for the chronically ill, dental care for children, unemployment benefits, schooling grants, hospital staff, foreign emergency aid, etc.

...but they *refuse* to take *any* action against the above mentioned construct. In fact, they *even* refuse to support an inquiry to research if the construct is being abused.

Interestingly, nearly all the former ministers provided by this party who are not still in politics are 'working' in high positions *with the very businesses that are responsible for the largest tax evasions in Dutch history*.

The only defense the VVD gives, is that action against this tax evasion "would hurt the Dutch economy", because said businesses might move elsewhere (unlikely, because they're not *just* here for the tax benefits). However, the fact that Dutch businesses or smaller international businesses that do not have multiple branches in this country are given a far worse deal than multinational moguls proves that this argument doesn't apply.

I call this corruption. To add insult to injury, the VVD claims that most of the damage done to the Dutch economy was inflicted by "left wing government". The last, and only, (center-)left coalition government The Netherlands had ruled in the early 1970s. It was also the only government since 1970 that did not contain the VVD.

These people are completely and utterly evil.


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Posted: 17 Jun 12, 11:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

In other words the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

Nothing new really.

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Posted: 18 Jun 12, 00:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Unreal. But not surprising in the least.

The conservative party of Canada just passed a bill that dismantles virtually every environmental law we've ever had. It was a "budget implementation" bill, but the 400+ page document had little to do with the budget. It was basically written by the oil companies. The bill was rammed through parliament with minimal debate, and dozens of changes to many laws were hidden in the bill dubbed the "jobs, growth and long term prosperity act." The opposition filibustered the bill to vote on every amendment one by one. It took 24 hours of consecutive voting, everyone standing up one by one for 150 or so votes, all of which the conservatives voted down. One can hope the people of Canada are waking up and realizing that we are being run by borderline fascists.

Speaking of Holland - Canada has the Dutch disease. The manufacturing sectors of the rest of the country (outside Alberta, where the oil sands are) is suffering largely because of the rising Canadian dollar (it rises with the price of oil). The government is completely against renewable energy, because it will be lost revenue for the oil companies who finance them to keep them in power. Now with a majority, they can pass whatever bills the oil companies want them to pass. Anything for a quick buck now, and screw 50 years from now.

So the rich are running the show in Canada too. It's all about who has the most money to lobby and get their way.

Is there any place in the civilized world where this isn't the case? Maybe Sweden or Denmark? Or maybe Iceland, after the bankers were jailed and the government overthrown ??


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Posted: 18 Jun 12, 00:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

And another question - has this kind of thing happened anywhere else in the civilized world? Maybe in Italy, where Berlusconi owned and ran the media?

"Parks Canada employees across the country have received letters warning they're not allowed to criticize the agency or the federal government."

Sounds like 1984 to me.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/06/14/ns-parks-canada-letter-warning.html


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Posted: 18 Jun 12, 01:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Taking form the poor and giving to the rich has been made easier by globalization. Billions of Dollars/Euros/whatever have been shifted in favour of the richest in the last two decades worldwide. Join the occupy movement - the only chance to give the majority a voice.


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Posted: 18 Jun 12, 06:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

YourValentine wrote:
Taking form the poor and giving to the rich has been made easier by globalization. Billions of Dollars/Euros/whatever have been shifted in favour of the richest in the last two decades worldwide. Join the occupy movement - the only chance to give the majority a voice.


What bothers me about the Occupy movement is its lack of clear positions - they're just as populist as the rest. Take the "we are the 99%" slogan: no, you aren't. The very fact that you're living in the Western world means you're part of the privileged 1%. But it sounds good, and makes it look like you're siding with the underdog, so just by wearing a t-shirt with the slogan, you've done your job. That's the way large numbers of people see it.

The real culprit isn't globalization, it's not even just the rich. We, as a whole, are the guilty ones. The reason we are guilty is because we haven't taken our democratic privileges seriously. Democracy means rights on the one hand, and responsibilities on the other. The population of the 'free world' has, en masse, rejected the responsibilities: we vote with our purses, not our brains. We refuse to take the time to look into the issues that matter, and opt instead to vote on the basis of tv appearances by politicians who aren't states(wo)men. Unless something happens pretty soon, parliamentary democracy will truly be dead.

Even as we speak, parliamentary democracy is being replaced by a new kind of feudalism: large banks and businesses can now move and act with complete impunity, disregarding the law themselves, and using it against their adversaries. We used to call it "divine right", now we call it "too big to fail" - it is still the same thing. And it is every single one of us who has allowed it to happen. The moment we refuse to defend our freedom, we lose our right to it. It appears that this moment came and went decades ago.

As for globalization - we have a simple choice: nationalism or globalism. No ideology in the history of mankind has brought more war, death and suffering, more wastage and injustice than nationalism. A just globalism is our only way. I will never, under any circumstances, submit to nationalism.


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Posted: 18 Jun 12, 06:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The Real Wizard wrote:
And another question - has this kind of thing happened anywhere else in the civilized world? Maybe in Italy, where Berlusconi owned and ran the media?
"Parks Canada employees across the country have received letters warning they're not allowed to criticize the agency or the federal government."
Sounds like 1984 to me.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/06/14/ns-parks-canada-letter-warning.html

Italy does come to mind. That country was not a democracy by any stretch of the imagination when Berlusconi was in charge. South Korea is also pretty close, it's pretty easy to be charged with subversion there, too. But let's be frank, this is the kind of government we expect to find (and do find) in Russia or Pakistan.
Incidentally, is it just me, or is anyone else beginning to notice that our cold war complaints about the inhumane, corrupt and undemocratic Soviet Union have less to do with the Soviet Union than with the way Russia has been run for centuries?

Incidentally, as far as Scandinavia is concerned, Denmark has left their healthy course and gone for the populist solution the rest of Europe has taken, too. I guess Norway and Sweden are the only ones doing a really good job, with Finland and Iceland lagging slightly behind (Iceland is still trying to deal with its own semi-criminal banking sector, so it really doesn't have any time or attention for anything else, as so much of their economy depends on it).


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Posted: 18 Jun 12, 10:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Join the occupy movement - the only chance to give the majority a voice.


Plus you can drink and smoke pot with the homeless.

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Posted: 18 Jun 12, 12:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Micrówave wrote:
Join the occupy movement - the only chance to give the majority a voice.
Plus you can drink and smoke pot with the homeless.


Is that really all you have to say? I thought you American conservatives were all for small businesses. Doesn't this way of making corrupt deals with economic behemoths at the expense of smaller businesses clash at all with economic liberty?


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Posted: 18 Jun 12, 12:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Microwave - I absolutely agree. As clearly demonstrated in this picture, all of the people protesting against the corrupt financial system are homeless pot smokers.

Attachment: 1216181263556640.jpg 80 KB
This has been downloaded 10 time(s).



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Posted: 18 Jun 12, 12:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

TQ - thanks for all that. Sad to hear Denmark is jumping on the bandwagon.

But from what I can tell, Sweden must be the best country in the world to live in. They seem to have their marbles together.


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Posted: 18 Jun 12, 14:27 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You're right, Mr. Wizard.  That Occupy movement was completely legit.

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/10/24/accusations-of-teen-runaway-sexual-activity-at-occupy-dallas/

or the 13 million it has cost

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/314712

let alone the pot smoking

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Occupy-Dallas-Awaits-Removal-134014318.html

and the homeless kids

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/11/04/cps-seizes-baby-from-occupy-dallas-site/

Sounds like you missed out on one hell of a party.

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Posted: 18 Jun 12, 14:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sorry... didn't mean to hijack this thread.  But lets not reference some outside group like the Occupy Movement before realizing the amount of problems with it.  I doubt the Dutch have anything as silly as that happening in their country.

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Posted: 20 Jun 12, 05:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Congratulations on killing this thread, Micrówave. I hope you enjoy it.


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Posted: 20 Jun 12, 10:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

(gloating)

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Posted: 21 Jun 12, 03:21 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

thomasquinn 32989 wrote:

Even as we speak, parliamentary democracy is being replaced by a new kind of feudalism: large banks and businesses can now move and act with complete impunity, disregarding the law themselves, and using it against their adversaries. We used to call it "divine right", now we call it "too big to fail" - it is still the same thing. And it is every single one of us who has allowed it to happen. The moment we refuse to defend our freedom, we lose our right to it. It appears that this moment came and went decades ago.



I totally agree: your member of parliament is not representing you. You have to go to Supreme Court to have your rights protected. Join occupy  -  it is what you make of it. Just recently police in Frankfurt arrested over 60 people who dared to exercise their constitutional rights, it looked much as Cairo. The more people join forces, the better chances we have to regain the rights our politicians are signing away to the banks and global players. For decades we social democrats have been ridiculed as "leftist hippies", "good-doers" and similar when we fought against the global power of capitalism and now we have no socialist tradition left. Unions were made powerless when workers were told that their company will move to Romania if they ask for more money. People had to learn that the state is not there to bring society justice and welfare for all but the state is there to shift the money from the masses to the few richest. The tide will turn when the masses are panicking - like we already see in Spain and Greece where millions go to the streets. Join occupy - it is just what you and I make of it.


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Posted: 21 Jun 12, 17:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Join occupy - it is just what you and I make of it.


Perhaps, then, you could provide an example of where it has done some good.

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Posted: 21 Jun 12, 19:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Micrówave wrote:
Join occupy - it is just what you and I make of it.
Perhaps, then, you could provide an example of where it has done some good.


Perhaps promoting retirement at age 55 with a very generous pension ... just like Greece ...

Or perhaps having a union hold company management hostage ... just like France ...


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Posted: 22 Jun 12, 01:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Campaiging against tax avoidance by huge corporations?

Those opposed to "occupy" are also those most likely to be anti-socialist. Apparently though, socialism is terrible when it benefits the weak and needy but absolutely fine when govts are bailing out large corporations.


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Posted: 22 Jun 12, 03:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You are absolutely right, Holly: profits are private but all the management mistakes are paid for by the tax payer.

@ Mike: when a society progresses so far that they do not need all people to work 60 hours per week for 50 years what is the right thing to do: pay pensions to the old and unemployment money to the unemployed or is it better to give all the money to a few people and let them speculate with the homes and pensions of the many? The global financial "industry" - they do not produce anything, they do not accept the idea that property implies responsibility - they gamble away billions in a day and then they call for the government - but beware that the government should have the right to regulate this ruthless industry.

If the government does not represent the interests of the majority - what will happen? People will vote for extreme parties, they will go to the streets and demand that their voices will be heard. It is really up to each individual how they respond to the situation. Personally, i do not believe in extreme politics but I believe that we must turn around fast before all our socíal aquirements are gone and Europe gets as poor as Africa just from the greed of the financial industry.

I can see that the USA is in a different place because the USA will just print money if they need it with no connection to the actual economic strength. In Europe the currency is under stress because we cannot just print money, the economies must be able to generate the money the countries need but that is not the case after the finacial crisis.

We badly and urgently need politicians who remember whom they are representing in a democracy. It cannot be accepted that 50% of the young people in Spain are unemployed, this is worse than the Middle East. In Germany we go to the Supremem Court to stop our government to throw more billions of our money into the accounts of banks claiming we are bailing out "Greece" or "Spain" when we in fact are bailing out German and French banks.


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