Rod Dreher

Once again, the German taxpayer is to be greatly pitied for having to bail out Greece, which deserves to be taken the the woodshed. Check out this NYT story:

ATHENS — In the wealthy, northern suburbs of this city, where summer temperatures often hit the high 90s, just 324 residents checked the box on their tax returns admitting that they owned pools.
So tax investigators studied satellite photos of the area — a sprawling collection of expensive villas tucked behind tall gates — and came back with a decidedly different number: 16,974 pools.
That kind of wholesale lying about assets, and other eye-popping cases that are surfacing in the news media here, points to the staggering breadth of tax dodging that has long been a way of life here.
Such evasion has played a significant role in Greece’s debt crisis, and as the country struggles to get its financial house in order, it is going after tax cheats as never before.
Various studies, including one by the Federation of Greek Industries last year, have estimated that the government may be losing as much as $30 billion a year to tax evasion — a figure that would have gone a long way to solving its debt problems.
“We need to grow up,” said Ioannis Plakopoulos, who like all owners of newspaper stands will have to give receipts and start using a cash register under the new tax laws passed last month. “We need to learn not to cheat or to let others cheat.”

If I were British, I would be thanking the Anglican God that my nation never joined the Euro, thereby making my economy hostage to the cultural weaknesses of my Eurozone partners.
Social scientists have established that almost nothing contributes to the success or failure of an economy like trust. You have to be able to trust your neighbors to follow the rules, more or less. Because so many Greeks feel they don’t have to obey the tax laws, and because Greek politicians lied to European leaders to hide their true economic situation, which would have kept them out of the EU, most likely, Greece is going to suffer greatly — and will probably be kicked out of the euro before it’s all over with.

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