The way the macaron crumbles

by Walter Olson on July 5, 2014

Bureaucracy and taxes in Greece strangle a woman’s dream of a baking business before she even gets it properly launched [Despina Antypa, New York Times via Dan Mitchell]:

…as happens so often in Greece, the bureaucrats had other plans. In a country where you are viewed favorably when you spend money but are considered a criminal when you make it, starting a business is a nightmare. The demands are outrageous, and include a requirement that the business pay taxes in advance equal to 50 percent of estimated profit in the first two years. And the taxes are collected even if the business suffers a loss. I needed only 20 square meters for my baking business, but inspectors told me they could not give me permission for less than 150 square meters. I was obliged to have a separate toilet for customers even though I would not have any customers visit. The fire department wanted a security exit in the same place where the municipality demanded a wall be built. … I, like thousands of others trying to start businesses, learned that I would be at the mercy of public employees who interpreted the laws so they could profit themselves.

More: Hans Bader.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John Fembup 07.05.14 at 6:55 am

“public employees who interpreted the laws so they could profit themselves.”

I wonder: In what age, in what government, have public employees acted otherwise?

Seems to me this is a universal human trait – - not the product of communism or capitalism or corporations or Democrats or Republicans or Muslims or Jews, or Christians, or any other of the typical scapegoats commonly blamed for the harm caused by self-dealing people, whether in private or public occupations.

2 MattS 07.06.14 at 1:56 pm

“I wonder: In what age, in what government, have public employees acted otherwise? ”

None. However in ages past, public employees were a small fraction of the population. However, since the early/mid 20th century, they have been multiplying like plague rats. In some countries, like Greece, they now outnumber the peasants.

3 JohnniebGoode 07.06.14 at 9:09 pm

Don’t let California know about this, please.

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