Some bits and pieces from here and there:
Tax resistance in Catalonia
- Deputies from Esquerra Republicana (Republican Left of Catalonia) and Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (Popular Unity Candidates) paid their federal taxes to the Catalan tax agency rather than sending them to the central government in Barcelona.
The secretary general of Esquerra Republicana explained the purpose of what has been derided as a symbolic tactic (the Catalan tax agency forwards such taxes to Barcelona itself):
“Already there is an embrionic tax agency that we would like to have, and we think that it should be the first great structure of State and that we will have to have it as soon as possible.” [Quim] Arrufat [of Candidatura d’Unitat Popular] defended symbolic actions as a path for changing things: “Symbolism is a great weapon for all those who want to change reality. The sum of small individual actions is that which triggers grand political events.”
- Marta Rovira, the Esquerra Republicana spokesperson in the regional parliament, explained: “It should be a very simple and ordinary act that we Catalans could pay our taxes into the tax agency of Catalonia, and it should also be normal that the money that we pay in Catalonia is invested for the benefit of our fellow citizens.”
- Some towns are holding referendums on whether or not to proceed with their tax resistance, or “fiscal sovereignty,” as they put it.
- In Alcarrás, city councilors from Partit dels Socialistes de
Catalunya (Socialist Party of Catalonia) and Partido
Popular (People’s Party) also got in on the
fun — voting for an Esquerra Republicana-sponsored city motion to pay municipal taxes to the Catalan tax agency.
The text of the motion says that “day by day Catalonia appears more afflicted by a financial strangulation derived from the politicization of economic decisions taken by the Government of Madrid,” that involves a “grave obstacle” for towns to be able to offer services that have been entrusted. “The serious looting keeps us from getting back on our feet,” it adds.
The IRS scandals
- The piranha continue to churn the waters around the increasingly meatless corpse of the IRS Scandals of . Things that in normal times would become just-another-minor-government-scandal are now getting the high melodrama treatment. Case in point: an IRS information technology contractor who had a cozy relationship with an influential insider at the agency, and who manipulated government programs that give preferential treatment to contractors who are in certain economically-troubled areas or are owned by disabled veterans (in this case, the owner broke his foot, decades ago, while in a military prep school).
- The IRS gives “purchase cards” to its employees in lieu of expense accounts. A recent audit found that employees had used these cards to purchase $140 meals, diet pills, romance novels, online porn, a “world’s largest crossword puzzle,” and… I’m trying to picture this… “kazoos, toy boats, and Thomas the Tank Engine rubber wristbands for managers’ meetings.”
- “The IRS held a conference in Atlanta that included an open bar, elaborate hors d’oeuvres and a video of agency employees dressed as Olympic athletes with makeshift torches. The ‘grand finale’ of the conference, held during President George W. Bush’s administration, was an awards dinner at the Georgia Aquarium catered by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck…”