Leona Helmsley Goes Greek, and the Gods of the Copybook Headings Put in an Appearance

Because taxes are for the little people, right?

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports today (unfortunately they took their English-language site down several years ago, so the link is to their regular site) that the Greek tax enforcers have come into the possession of a USB thumb drive which was provided by the French to the Greeks some two years ago, but which went . . . errmmmm . . . missing in action without being examined.  It has now re-surfaced, and among other interesting tea and scandal on it are the names of roughly 2,000 Greek citizens who have Swiss bank accounts.  The same article reports that some 60 Greek politicians, including three (alas! unnamed) senior government officials are being actively investigated for money laundering, graft, and tax evasion.  To this the FAZ adds mention of some 15,000 Greek citizens who can’t seem to explain their foreign holdings.  The tax folks are examining as well some 22 billion Euros in money transfers out of Greece.

But wait!  This can’t be right!!  I thought living in a socialist country was supposed to generate selflessness, a desire to “pay one’s fair share,” to do what our dear vice president has described as one’s patriotic duty.  Why, I thought that socialism was the sovereign remedy for human nature.  I’ve been told by so many Deep Thinkers that all we had to do was to “rob[] selective Peter to pay for collective Paul,” as Kipling phrased it, and all human avarice, selfishness, and dishonesty would burn off like a morning mist.  “Potential plenty” would be achieved, the millenium would come, the lion would lie down with the lamb and both would get up no worse off for the experience, and we Little People would find spread before us only bright, dew-bespattered, gleaming pastures (cleared, fertilized, fenced, tended, and paid for by Someone Else, of course) for all to graze on to our hearts’ content.

OK, children, let’s review one more time, dammit:

“As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!”

I’d meant to ignore politics this morning, but I’ll just observe that one of our candidates would agree with the above, and the other never will.  Which do we trust to boss the joint?

Update (08 Oct 12):  According to a report in today’s FAZ, the main newspaper in Athens quotes from data assembled by the Greek tax enforcement folks.  Seems that socialism hasn’t quite accomplished its goal of re-forging citizens into kinder, more giving, more willing-to-share-the-burden philanthropists.  A farmer who reported €497 per annum somehow managed from that modest — nay, impoverished — income to transfer €12,587,184 abroad.  A gardener who ‘fessed up to €2,275 annual income still found a money stump with €610,000 for him to ship out of the country.  In both cases the transferors somehow omitted to share the fact of the transfer with the (ahem) responsible authorities.

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