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Archive for 16. September 2019

Why so many non-religious Europeans pay church taxes

Posted by hkarner - 16. September 2019

Date: 12-09-2019
Source: The Economist

And how cunning Icelanders avoid it

In the Old Testament, priests are told to take a tenth of every believer’s crops as a tax to support the faith. In these latter days, they can outsource the job to the state. In many European countries, “church taxes”—levied on all registered members of religious organisations by governments—still exist.

The governments of ten countries across Europe administer membership fees on behalf of religious organisations. In two of these, Spain and Portugal, believers can opt to pay a portion of their income tax to their religion of choice. Six others run opt-out systems, whereby registered members of certain Christian churches (and, in some cases, other religious groups) are required to pay tax. In most of these, apostasy is the only way to get out of paying. Some states in Germany require even more arduous methods of disassociation—in addition to leaving the church, you must also file a notarised deregistration form with the local government, which demands a fee.

In Italy and Iceland churches get a cut of income tax, so it is hard for taxpayers to avoid bankrolling them. But not impossible. Italians can ask for their share to go to the state, to spend on humanitarian aid. Icelanders, meanwhile, have found a cunning way to get refunds. Their tithes are distributed to each religious group according to the size of its flock. A surprising number of people have registered as members of the Zuist Church of Iceland, a previously obscure group that preaches ancient Sumerian beliefs. It refunds the contributions of its members, greatly broadening its appeal. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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And the people just love the „bastard“

Posted by hkarner - 16. September 2019

Date: 15-09-2019
Source: The Guardian
Subject: Tories extend poll lead to 12% despite week of political chaos

Boris Johnson also has a far higher net approval rating for his handling of Brexit than Jeremy Corbyn

The polling was conducted after Johnson shut down parliament for five weeks.

The Conservatives have pushed further ahead of Labour in the latest Opinium/Observer poll – despite yet another turbulent week for Boris Johnson.

The latest poll shows the Tories on 37%, up two since last week, while Labour is unchanged on 25%. The Liberal Democrats whose conference opens this weekend in Bournemouth are on 16% (down one), and the Brexit party is also unchanged on 13%.

The polling – conducted after Johnson shut down parliament for five weeks last Tuesday, and Scottish judges subsequently ruled his action to have been unlawful – shows the Conservatives are continuing to consolidate their support among leave voters. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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An unconscious uncoupling

Posted by hkarner - 16. September 2019

Date: 12-09-2019
Source: The Economist

The economic policy at the heart of Europe is creaking

The health of the single market is vital for the future of Europe’s economy

Hello kitty, a Japanese cat-girl with a bright pink bow, is an unusual mascot for European integration. But in July the cartoon character inadvertently became one. Sanrio, Hello Kitty’s owner, admitted to the European Union (eu) that it had granted trademark licences to business partners on the condition each would sell the ensuing Hello Kitty merchandise—from school bags to pencil cases and duvet covers—only in specified eu states. This attempt to treat Europe as a disjointed bundle of countries breaches an article of economic faith: that the eu’s 28 members are one single market. The European Commission doled out a €6.2m ($6.8m) fine.

Maps of Europe still show its various countries separated by borders, some of them not much moved in centuries. Commercially, they are meant to be anachronistic. In theory, at least viewed from Brussels, the eu’s 500m citizens live in a single economic zone much like America, with nothing to impede the free movement of goods, services, people and capital. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Will the IMF Finally Learn From Argentina?

Posted by hkarner - 16. September 2019

SYDNEY – Argentina’s politically intractable foreign-debt crisis serves as a powerful reminder that the International Monetary Fund still has no answer for dealing with the volatility of international capital flows to emerging economies. It also underscores the need for reform at the Fund itself.

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