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Portugal's hidden billions Part 7 - Perverse Robin Wood

Portugal's hidden billions Part 7 - Perverse Robin WoodPortugal was a poor country with a hardworking people, who carefully took care of its resources. Families grew vegetables, harvested fruits and nuts. They were happy, had plenty of gold, no debts.

Since the EEC became UE and Portugal, against the practices of other small countries, did not ask for exceptions against the general Treat, corporations may register in Luxembourg or Holland and pay taxes there instead of here. As the larger chains of supermarkets operate all over the country and act as in cartels, with concerted prices and discounts and tough rules for their suppliers, these have no profits; they cannot invest in better products, in nothing.

The free-trade agreement worldwide, which many said would bring better products to all markets for a lower final-client price, could never happen, as most markets and branches have imperfections. This brought a way of importing milk from China and shrimps from Vietnam, 8,000 miles away from the local supplier. As workers there have famine wages, no vacations, no enforced environment laws and corruption avoiding taxes, they produce for a lower cost. Also lack of safety, miserable waves, etc in chinese, panama and other tax-heaven registered ships bring products to Europe for a bargain.

In other small countries in the EU, as the Nordic and Belgium, exceptions from the EU-rules made it possible to stop importing poor quality food-stuff. Portugal did not ask for exception and we get all kind of strange additives from the law-less far-east.

On top of killing local production, except fresh vegs, in most districts in Portugal, some 200M€ that each of the major supermarket chains sell there, as in Beja or Castelo Branco, pays zero taxes there. With, say, some 20 M€ in profits, they should pay 5 M€ in taxes, which could bring some 2 M€ to the counties in the district. But, registered in Nederland or Lux, they pay 1.6 M€ - there. Some 85 billion Euros left the country this way in last decade, a legal tax evasion of some 20 billion!

So, our government takes our tax-money to support some of the poor and retired in those poor districts, and makes others have a poor-quality life, with distant and malfunctioning hospitals and schools, driving far away to keep low-waged jobs. Most of that money is for basic living-costs as foodstuff, cheap cloths, cleaning chems, almost all imported. A few Euros of EU-funds, from the EU middle-class tax-payers, go to construction firms and cement and iron mills, which partially belong to private funds far away in capitals and foreigners in Frankfurt and Amsterdam.

As local production brings no profits, competitiveness is low and plants and farms close down, dropping the standard of living of the citizen, which has money only for the imported stuff sold in supermarkets, which became the only profitable business. And profits go from the poor in Portugal to the rich law-offices and banks in the richest capitals in the EU.

What about the dreams of Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman? A pipe-dream? Time for a change? YES, WE CAN - TOGETHER!

© Jack Soifer

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Comments  

+2 #2 Niloc 2015-08-09 11:41
Never the less, we know what he means. We can take some comfort knowing that the current model of corporate control and greed is becoming so transparently and obviously incorrect as a sustainable model for the future that a change of system is inevitable if we are to avoid extinction lol
+2 #1 Richard 2 2015-08-09 07:26
Without wishing to seem pedantic your writer gas made the normal error. Tax evasion is illegal tax avoidance is not. It is not possible to have "legal tax evasion"

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