All over the globe governments are taking rather draconian measures to assure they squeeze every last dime possible in taxes out of their citizens. While we all realize that it does take money for these governments to operate, sometimes it seems that the people be damned in politicians’ quest to maintain iron-fisted control over its people and their tax dollars. We see this in countries of all sizes and dominance, from the US to India to China as well as in many of the smaller countries.
The interesting thing about it, many of these politicians go out of their way to couch their draconian measures in the form of “protections” of the people. Take for example the latest effort by India to “end the evil tax evasion”…. and get their hands on more tax dollars that they feel they are missing out on. In November 2016 the Indian government basically declared the most widely used form of paper money to be worthless and forced the population to go through rather extreme efforts to try to convert their older bills into newer bills over just a few weeks.
We are talking about bills worth about $7.50 and $15.00 each which make up over 80% of the currency in circulation. Supplies of the replacement bills were in short supply and lines at banks to attempt to convert older bills to newer bills were intolerable. Oooops, there was one other problem. Individuals could only convert up to approximately $30 per person per day with approved proof of identity. As they say at NASA… Houston, we have a problem….. hundreds of millions of India’s citizens do not even have that form of proof of identity. No proof, no conversion, no eat.
Keep in mind that over 97% of all transactions in India are in cash, what would you expect to happen when you can no longer spend your own money that you have earned to feed your family……
Well, the outcome was predictable. The stress on many of the people was tramatic, resulting in over 50 deaths in just first few weeks, with more to come.
You might ask, why would a country put its people under such stress and impose such an intolerant schedule and process on its people? Of course, the politicians and power elite just wanted to “protect” the people from all that “evil tax evasion”. In effect, the politicians imposed a one-time wealth loss on currency holders who were unable or unwilling to convert their entire holdings of old notes. This was intentional, because supposedly they intended to eliminate untaxed or illegally gotten wealth held in currency. Meanwhile they are making life absolute hell for large portions of the population.
And of course, it is not just India resorting to extreme measures to grab the tax dollars. Politicians are quite creative when it comes to getting their hands on your money. Sometimes it takes the forms of currency replacement (as in India), devaluation (as in many countries), raiding or restricting bank accounts (as in Cypress) or restrictions of ability to use or transfer funds (as we see in China and to a limited extent so far in the US). Of course the ultimate tax grab schemes in many countries are much more subtle than the India debacle and are quite well masked. Take for example the wonderful promise of all that “free” healthcare under Obamacare in the US. Hidden in the bowels of that monstrosity were about 21 different hidden taxes and penalties. Ultimately trillions of dollars of wealth transfer from the so called “haves” to the so called “have-nots” with a very heavy dose of bureaucrats grabbing large portions of the spoils along the way.
Today, across this globe there seems to be one universal truth of government. If you have it or if you earn it, the government will spare no effort to take it away and to control how, where and if you can spend it. In the US and in other nations across the globe we are seeing a renewed grass roots effort to slow down over-reaching government control of our lives. Brexit was one such example in Great Britian. Trump was a similar revolt against status quo in the US. I suspect more push back is coming as citizens in other nations are self-empowered to say no to the status quo and greedy, wasteful politicians.
It is not hard for me to understand why more and more of the people we meet on our free North Coast Discovery Tours are expressing their disgust and frustration with what is going on in their home countries. And it really does not seem to matter what country they come from. We hear the same basic frustrations from our guests from the United States, Canada and various European nations. People are just tired of fighting the losing battles with their politicians and they simply want a way to sit out all this turmoil and enjoy the rest of their life in peace. I get it.
For us, we chose to sit it out on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. We appreciate the opportunity to wake up each day with the toughest challenge being to decide whether to hang out on the beach, shop for low cost organic fruits and vegetables straight from the farm or head down to the little fishing inlet to buy fresh Mahi Mahi or Tuna straight off the boat. We are willing to forgo a trip to Walmart for that.