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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Blogging the Responses to the Italian Debate

Right at the end of the debate, when Prodi couldn't reply, Berlusconi tried to pull a rabbit out of his hat. He said that if re-elected he would eliminate ICI, that is the property tax which funds local government. US taxpayers will be amazed that the local tax is established by a national law and that local government funding is totally controlled by the national parliament. It is true that the current majority could eliminate local governments in Italy if it so chose.

The promise of radical reform if he is re-elected is particularly absurd. Berlusconi has controlled Italian government for the past 5 years increasing to 25 the number of years that one person has had such power in modern history (Mussonlini had even more power for 20 years). He could get anything he wanted passed in parliament and never did anything about ICI.

The fact that he said he would eliminate a tax which funds budgets that he doesn't have to balance is particularly slimy. He chose to claim he would eliminate the one tax which generates funds not controlled by Silvio Berlusconi. Actually, there is the risk that local government employees will be offended and vote in mass against him. I guess he assumes that they are all against him already. Notice I said offended, because the promise is so absurd that it won't frighten anyone.

Sounds like a truly desparate effort to buy votes due to terrible internal polls.
However, I remember the time that a Likud minister claimed that he had an invention which would make oil obsolete days before one of the many dread Likud victories. Telling insane lies is sometimes a sign of desperation and sometimes a habit which is hard to break.

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