Germany’s political parties – except the Liberals – are trying to outdo each other in their competition for more “social justice.” Merkel, Steinbrück, Trittin and Gysi are racing against each other to see who can demonstrate the deepest commitment to “social justice.” The term is getting on my nerves as much as the buzzwords “sustainability” and, most recently, “sexism.”
In truth, the use of the term “social justice” in this context signifies nothing less than the expropriation of entrepreneurs and managers. The latest idea was conceived by the leftist party “Die Linke” and announced last week. This party, which renamed itself four times (KPD, SED, PDS, Die Linke), demands a tax rate of 100% on any income exceeding 500,000 euros. The moniker it coined for the novel tax is “democracy tax,” and the underlying argument is, according to the head of the party, Bernd Riexinger: Inequality is supposedly a hazard to democracy. He argues that this makes a cap on incomes of more than 500,000 euros a “democracy tax.”
The “democracy tax” of 100% is to be complemented by a net worth tax of 5%, which will eat up the entire wealth of the detested “rich” before long.
Just like in George Orwell’s novel “1984,” words are given a twisted meaning. This is hardly new. Walter Ulbricht christened his red dictatorship a “people’s democracy” or “People’s Democratic Republic”. Fact is that the SED tyranny has as little in common with the principles of democracy as the “democracy tax” lately demanded by the Leftists. Communists of former times were more honest in calling such a process “expropriation.”
The governing socialist coalition in neighbouring France is already trying to implement similar ideas. Their plan calls for a 75%-tax on incomes of one million euros or more, with a net worth tax and other levies thrown in for good measure, bringing the total tax load up to 85%. While the highest court of France has declared the tax unconstitutional, President Francois Hollande responded promptly with the announcement that he will pass the tax anyway.
Entrepreneurs and top athletes have responded in perfectly predictable ways: they are leaving the country in droves. I must say that I sympathise with them, because why would anyone earning so much money wish to remain in a country where they are vilified and mistreated as a persona non grata?
Germany’s Leftist party may have forgotten that the wall once dividing the country is no longer in place and will not keep the “rich” from leaving the country. This wall, by the way, was never called a wall by the governing communists, but was referred to as the “anti-fascist protective barrier”.