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German neoliberal economist ready to accept a tax on currency exchange

On Wednesday 16 March the German parliament's commission on development arranged a hearing on the Currency Transactions Tax (CTT).
From Peter Wahl (WEED, Berlin )- As experts were invited Dr. Nunnenkamp from the neoliberal Institute for World Economy in Kiel and Prof. Denys, tax expert from Brussels, who has been very much involved in the process who led to the Belgian law on the CTT.

From the beginning, Dr. Nunnenkamp was surprisingly moderate. Unlike in the past, he did not any more declare the CTT to be nonsense. He admitted, that several simplistic arguments from the past, such as the possibility of tax evasion were not solid and valuable. He accepted the target to raise money for development, but expressed his doubt, whether other instruments, such as the VAT would not be a more appropiate way to do this.

This argument goes along with the general trend in the neoliberal discourse: if we cannot avoid taxes, it should be at least mass-taxes, but the rich and super-rich should not be affected.

On the other hand, Prof. Denys impressed the meeting with his concrete and detailled experience with Belgian law.  Denys  refuted the standard arguments against the CTT, but also new ones from Dr. Nunnenkamp, such as that it might cost € 15 billion (!) to levy the tax.

There was a great openess from the social democratic and the green commission members for the CTT (both parties being on the government).

The Christian Democrats (now  in the opposition) , said  that they do not see the political support for the CTT in the UK and Switzerland for a unilateral implementation  in the European time zone.

The liberals expressed a negative view on any new taxes and against any increase in Overseas development Aid, as long as the present ODA "would not be used efficiently."

The Commission will hold similar hearings on the kerosene tax and the IFF.

Last modified 2005-03-17 07:52 AM

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