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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report
Monday May 11, 2009
The ayes have it
Two rather interesting reads explaining "how it all went wrong":
- "Iceland is no longer a country. It is a hedge fund."
- Where does the money come from, then? From transaction taxes ("stamp" duties, capital gains taxes, corporate profits tax) that were paid mostly by the real-estate speculators who were making money hand over fist. Everyone seemed content with this system, even the speculators. It is, after all, easier to tax people's fake money than their real money. ... We can see now that this arrangement was a time bomb. We can also see that the politically connected developers did a good deal to wreck the economy. But there is no denying that, by golly, they paid a lot of taxes. All this meant, though, was that the state became just as dependent on the housing bubble as the private sector. When more money came in, the government just spent it.
The Iceland article is long, but like the Ireland article is worth reading to the end - one of the most memorable exchanges illustrating the naïveté that caused it all is on the seventh and last page.
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