Say no to Gerhard Schroeder's new football tax.
In Germany, in April 2002, parts of the media group founded by Leo Kirch were declared to be insolvent and proceedings for liquidation, sale or closure were started.
Gerhard Schroeder, the German Chancellor, wants to provide public money to support and rescue the group. This is outrageous and here is why:
While the reasons for the demise of the Kirch businesses are complex, a very large part of the problem is that Kirch agreed to pay far more for TV rights to sports events and movies than could be raised by TV advertising and subscriptions.
One of the main beneficiaries of any public support for Kirch would of course be the creditors who currently face the prospect of not getting the money that they expect.
On the face of it, those creditors are football clubs and movie studios but, if you look deeper, you will see that the main result of the channelling of TV money into sports and movies has been to pass that money along to the footballers and movie stars.
So, what Gerhard Schroeder's proposal amounts to is to take money from ordinary folks working and paying tax in Germany and bundle it up and hand it to famous soccer stars and actors who are paid far more money and who, through non-residency or clever wheezes available to the very rich may pay little or no tax in Germany themselves.
This is wrong. I have been paying the solidarity tax since 1994 and I do not mind doing so as it goes to support the former East Germany which needs help to close the gap to the richer Western parts of the reunited country. I am not happy about paying tax to help the rich afford another Ferrari or private jet.
Can we do anything? Well, we can try. Click here to register your opposition. I will keep a tally on this page and then forward the objections to the German government.
I'll post the first update of the number of objectors in the middle of this month.
Of course, I have no objection to football (except when my team loses) and I am a big movie fan. I just do not think that footballers and film stars need to be given money by German tax payers.