Reader Andrea from Italy
(who now lives in France) has some interesting comments regarding my post on Saturday Italy Deploys 20,000 Law Enforcement Officers to Protect Individuals and
Sensitive Sites; Anecdotes From Italy
via Canada: Taxed Out of House and Home.
Andrea writes ...
I would like to give your readers
a better understanding of
terrorism in Italy. Italy went through
the seventies with a very
hard season of terrorist acts.
In the worst period you could count one terrorist act per day: killing or bombing of politicians,
managers, journalists and trade
unions representatives. The main terrorist organization during those years were the "Brigate Rosse" (Red
The climax happened when they managed to kidnap, jail and eventually kill the Italian PM Aldo Moro. Their
"five point star" logo is still today symbol
of fear and terror in the
Along with the "Brigate
Rosse", other minor
far-left armed organizations have been spreading
terror in the country and also
many far-right organizations.
An involvement of Italian
and US intelligence has sometimes been guessed for some these acts. Those
years passed to history as the "years of
lead", by the metal bullets
are made of.
The period of terrorism roughly ended in 1982 with the liberation of US Army Gen. Dozier, kidnapped by Red Brigades. Most
of their masterminds and
killers have been caught and put in jail or spontaneously surrendered by that time.
Since then, from time to time, some acts are still claimed by Red Brigades.
So the matter of terrorist
acts is very, very sensitive in Italy. Unfortunately, the difficult economic environment creates the
conditions for a comeback of terrorism.
General Economic Conditions,
Taxes, and Mario Monti
In a followup on general economic conditions Andrea writes
I was in Italy a couple
of weeks ago and so I have some fresh updates.
The article you mention is
mostly correct, but it is worth to add
some things and some facts to describe the full picture.
For starters, Italy has a very
long and strong "habit" of tax evasion and tax fraud compounded
by an extremely high level
of criminal activities
and presence of criminal organizations in the economy.
This "habit" goes far beyond
the economically difficult
circumstances, and includes
professionals (dentists, doctors, lawyers), retailers and small business.
The phenomenon is so widespread and dramatic that a few figures should help explaining it. Statistics show that owners of luxury cars, yachts or private
planes declare in average
very few tens of thousands Euros income per year, much less
of the value of the objects they
own. Clearly, this is simply
So far, no government has been able to tackle this issue, for a lack of will and a lack of capacity at the same time. But increasing debt, pressure from financial markets and increasing spending has increased so much the fiscal pressure on those that cannot
evade that the problem now could
no longer be avoided.
The recent governments
have put in place a more and more efficient organization
to fight this phenomenon and Prime Minister
Mario Monti has now empowered
this organization with powers that
are really at the limit of democracy, a kind of Orwellian powers including some of the things you see described
in the article but also much
more. For example, the state now
has the power to look into your
bank account at any moment without any intervention from your bank.
In principle I do not like
these enforcements, as it sounds quite
tyrannical but at the same time nothing else seemed to work so far.
Coming back to the point: restoring
fiscal loyalty is absolutely necessary for Italy and those measures seem to have effect to this respect.
The problem is that this "fiscal
machine" is not making
any difference between a fiscal fraud or robbery and simple problems of
people that cannot pay because they
have no money and they have troubles with their firms.
The latter group should be
helped to keep their companies alive during these troubled times. Instead,
stories of people that commit suicide after getting a tough payment request from "Agenzia delle Entrate" can be heard almost
every day in Italy along with
weapon aggression to
“Agenzia delle Entrate”
While a fair tax system is needed, this way is going
to kill Italian companies.
As I said, nearly every day you
can hear and read about entrepreneur suicide stories in the mainstream media. Even Monti had to comment in a press conference.
A mix of things is responsible for this desperation.
Administration delayed payments.
PA in Italy is currently years behind in payment.
Private customers payment
delays or non-payments
Bank unwilling or unable to make loans
tough demands from the
new "fiscal machine"
Lack of demand in the wake of austerity measures, tax hikes, and general European slowdown
Note the injustice: Central and local governments
are agonizingly slow (as in years
late) in paying bills but
now demand citizens to pay immediately.
Monti approval is now rapidly declining
because of tax increases and because of waste of public money.