Thomas Piketty has released his latest bright idea. He and a bunch of the usual federasts and socialists think that having yet another parliament style thing in the European Union – perhaps exclusively for the eurozone, or maybe just for those who want to sign up to it – would solve the democratic deficit. Or something. It suffers from one really rather large problem. There’s absolutely no point at all in having it.
This budget, if the European assembly so desires, will be financed by four major European taxes, the tangible markers of this European solidarity. These will apply to the profits of major firms, the top incomes (over €200,000 a year), the highest wealth owners (over €1m ) and carbon emissions (with a minimum price of €30 a tonne). If it is fixed at 4% of GDP, as we propose, this budget could finance research, training and the European universities, an ambitious investment programme to transform our model of economic growth, the financing of the reception and integration of migrants, and the support of those involved in carrying out this transformation. It could also give some budgetary leeway to member states to reduce the regressive taxation that weighs on salaries or consumption. The issue here is not one of creating a transfer of payments across Europe – taking money from the “virtuous” countries to give it to those that are less so. The project limits the gap between expenditure deducted and income paid by a country to a threshold of 0.1% of its GDP – this could only be increased should there be consensus to do so. This threshold can be raised in case there is a consensus to do so, but the issue is primarily of reducing the inequality within countries, not between them
We’ll make very sure that money raised nationally gets spent nationally. And we want to work on the effects within nations anyway. OK, fair enough – so why in buggery do you want a supranational parliament overseeing this? There’s no point to that at all, is there? This very insistence upon national money being spent nationally means that national governments – those that wish to obviously- can get on with it within the confines of their own nation state.
That is, by design there’s no point to this as a European project, is there? Which is, when you come to think of it, something of a problem for the design of a European project.