There is a lot wrong with this presidential election and it has to do with money and taxes.
We have learnt that two presidential candidates have received over €4 million for their campaigns.
That money does not guarantee a better-quality candidate.
One candidate, a Conservative Party member called Mr. Stubb, has received €2.5 million from rich supporters who are swimming in money, and whose objectives are to ensure that they have their man in place.
The other candidate from the Greens, called Mr. Haavisto, has received €1.6 million in the form of mainly small cash payments, with a only a few large contributions from a small number of wealthy families openly supporting green projects.
Most of the money has been wasted on Tik Tok, Facebook, and on our media outlets. They are mainly just photos of smiling middle-aged men who want to appeal to younger voters, men, and women without saying anything important.
Finland has a high standard of living, a safe and clean environment, excellent low-cost education for all, good healthcare, where the rule of law means we enjoy equality and freedom of speech. We have a huge geographic are, a small population of 5.5 million, and harsh long winters – that makes things a bit more expensive to manage and requires greater efficiencies and a more dependence on exports.
Our tax rates are relatively high but once you add in what other countries pay for education, healthcare and other basic services, we are a well-organized cost-efficient country.
What makes this election suspect is the motivation of the Conservatives to get their man in place who will protect their interests to have lower taxes, the ability to avoid paying less taxes, and more taxpayers’ support for their companies.
The media here has been reporting that many wealthy Finns, (not all thank goodness) do not want to pay the taxes that ordinary folk must pay to keep our well-functioning state working smoothly.
The Conservatives and to some extent the other small right-wing parties are united in their efforts to push back on any effort to change tax avoidance schemes for the wealthy or reduce the amount of cash paid to private sector companies for “innovation” and “greening”.
Here are the most blatant tax-avoidance activities performed by the wealthy:
- Some become “residents” of Switzerland, Sweden, the UAE, Luxembourg, Monaco, France, Portugal, etc… where income taxes or death duties are low or virtually non-existent. These people and their children continue to spend a lot of time in Finland and benefit from Finland’s well-organized systems and infrastructure without paying. They just turn their backs on our country when they have enough cash in their pockets! Their lawyers and tax consultants earn a pretty penny from this activity which is not possible for ordinary Finns.
- Other wealthy folk live in big manor houses in Finland surrounded by thousand acres of farmland and forests for which they receive jaw-dropping CAP subsidies, while they claim to be “residents” in small or large homes in Helsinki which has one of the lowest income tax rates in Finland. They end up paying no income tax where they have the manor house. This tax reduction scheme is not available for ordinary folk, and yet nothing is done to change matters even though they operate like this in plain sight.
This present government has only been in place for 6 months and they have already introduced tax reductions for the wealthy, and reduced grants and benefits for low-income folk. However, our Presidential candidate, Mr. Stubb, from the Conservatives has chosen to completely avoid speaking about this or the above, even though he talks about being the president of all the people. For the sake of balance, Mr. Haavisto has not spoken about these matters either because he says that this is not the job of any president, but the work of the government.
Even more worrying is that the Employers Trade Union, called EK, is asking for another €500 million to support Finnish industry! Their lead man, a former Conservative minister, has just come out with this demand even though his party colleagues in government are cutting back on public spending. Industry already receives at least €3 billion in annual grants for innovations, plus huge tax and other benefits for energy cost reduction and exports. At the same time these same companies are paying dividends, using cash for huge buy backs of their shares, and generous bonuses to the top management even when their results are weak!
It appears that EK is more of a socialist left-wing organisation that is waving a huge paper cup in front of our population, just like the poor Romanian beggars we see on the streets in. Helsinki. This last group is also apparently well organized to collect money for their members!
Taxpayers’ money should not be used to subsidize private sector companies – it makes them lazy and reduces their incentive to invest…
… and cash used for share buy backs, dividends, and big bonuses should be used for new investments and R&D – companies should not need taxpayer’s money…
… and certainly not for supporting elections. We need to have a strict cap on election spending and avoid contributions that are made easier by tax avoidance, and by the promise future tax reductions for the wealthy.