Loudly whining about the fact that wealth in Austria is extremely unequal and thus unfairly distributed is part of the regularly and reliably recurring ritual of social democracy, chambers of labor and left-wing economists; flanked by the journalists and media embedded in it.
Recently it happened again. Because, according to a new study, wealth in the wake of the Corona crisis is allegedly distributed even more unequally than previously assumed, AK chief economist Marterbauer once again called for the introduction of taxes on all wealth.
For many Austrians who are not wealthy themselves, this probably sounds like a sensible idea; It is a well-known fact that good taxes are always those that affect others.
But is what sounds like a good idea?
The answer is: no. And for a number of good reasons.
Even the argument about the supposedly “unfair” distribution of wealth is rather stupid. Let’s assume that the ten richest Austrians would leave the country with their assets tomorrow and move to Monaco. Then the distribution of assets would suddenly be more even – but nobody would have even one euro left in their pockets.
Of course, this also works the other way around: if Elon Musk, Bill Gates and a dozen other billionaires came to us tomorrow, the fortunes would suddenly be distributed more unequally than before – without anyone being worse off as a result.
The distribution of wealth in itself says nothing about how good or bad a country is doing. In the defunct GDR, wealth was distributed absolutely equally because nobody had one – without the population particularly appreciating it.
We are dealing here with a bugbear, so to speak, behind which hard-core fantasies of expropriation are only barely concealed: the age-old socialist vice, wealth that one is unable to create oneself, to take away from others by force. And then to sell the whole thing as “justice”.
In addition, no other country in the world burdens its citizens and companies with as many taxes and duties as Austria does now. In this situation, it is downright frivolous and thoroughly indecent to even contemplate new taxes, regardless of what is to be taxed. Period.
The supporters of the wealth tax also regularly ignore the fact that entrepreneurs naturally have to pay them from current income, which consequently weakens their ability to invest money and thus create new jobs. The demands of the workers’ representatives for such taxes are ultimately also directed against the interests of the workers, which does not seem to be a particularly clever idea.
In view of the appalling record of state “investments” in all kinds of nonsense – especially in the wake of the corona pandemic – anyone who seriously advocates taking money away from companies for investments so that the state can spend it instead should actually be provided with an adult representative.
If you really want to create growth and prosperity, you have to come to the conclusion based on past experience that as much money as possible should be taken from the state and given (back) to the citizens and entrepreneurs – because it has been proven that they invest more intelligently and efficiently. Basically, the subject state should be taxed with the aim of allowing the proceeds to flow to the people.
Finally, the expropriation freaks withhold the true cause of the indeed unequal wealth growth of the super-rich and normal people in recent years: the semi-criminal monetary policy of the central banks, especially the European Central Bank (ECB). It is thanks to the fact that the wealth of small savers is melting away due to inflation and zero interest rates, while real estate and stocks, where the rich usually have their money, quickly became very expensive.
Anyone who wants this to change must push for the ECB to return to its duty, which is to keep the value of money stable. However, there is no need for expropriation of assets.