Editorial

Since 25 February 2020, the collection deadline has been running for the federal popular initiative “Micro-tax on cashless Monetary Transactions”, which is presented in more detail below – in an interview and in the box with short questions and answers on the topic of micro-tax. This initiative would deserve far more attention than it currently receives: it is, after all, a very well-conceived approach to getting under control the huge disparity between the economic performance of national economies on the one hand and the incredible amounts traded in the global financial economy in the form of mostly opaque financial products on the other. The money that is shifted in this area – for example in the form of bets on corporate defaults or the eventually bankruptcy of companies – corresponds to a multiple of the economic performance of the national economy, even in our country. The vast majority of these financial transactions are, however, obviously beyond any kind of control. This global financial casino not only endangers national economies, because in the event of the next crisis, it is of course primarily the “man and woman in the street” and taxpayer who will be asked to pay. The huge sums of money here allowing the particular interests of a few to be secured also endanger democracy, because plutocracy goes hand in hand with venality, corruption, manipulation of public opinion etc. An automatically generated tax on all credits and debits via electronic payment transactions could create transparency here. Those who really want to avoid tax evasion and tax havens and not just wage economic warfare in this sector would definitely have to espouse such a tax. Moreover, the taxation of this sort of financial transactions would always be fairer than the taxation of labour: it would be levied automatically and of course lay a heavier burden on those who operate with larger amounts.
    Certainly, the financial casino will continue to massively manage the “business with fear”, as Marc Chesney puts it, and continue to peddle the argument that such “senior positions” as the management of a major bank should only be entrusted to the “best”, which necessitates corresponding salaries (and bonuses). In his book “The Permanent Crisis”1 Chesney cites the example of Joseph Cassano, director of AIG, the North American insurance company that had made a massive bet on the survival ofLehman Brothers. As a result, AIG had to be rescued by the American taxpayer. It is true that Joseph Cassano resigned from his position as director; but he continued to be employed as a consultant with a monthly salary of 1 million dollars. In the film “Inside Job” it is said that this consulting contract was to ensure that AIG could “retain that intellectual knowledge”2 Countless others were left with nothing thanks to this “intellectual knowledge”.
     We humans often seem to forget very quickly – although there are many who keep warning that this crisis is anything but solved and that, on the contrary, the 30 or so systemically relevant big banks as well as hedge funds etc. have strengthened their position even further. What the initiative could definitely achieve in this context is the urgently needed debate on these existential questions, which we will sooner or later be facing again in very concrete terms – if the plebiscite comes about. The deadline for collecting signatures (somewhat postponed in the wake of the COVID-19 provisions) is 5 November 2021. By end of April, around 50 000 signatures had been received. Everyone who wants to give this urgent discussion a chance can make their small but important contribution to this in our direct democracy. (https://micro-tax.ch/en)

Erika Vögeli

1Chesney, Marc. A Permanent Crisis: The Financial Oligarchy’s Seizing of Power and the Failure of Democracy, Palgrave MacMillan, London 2018
2Film Inside Job, around min. 79.50 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2IaJwkqgPk)

“In March of 2008 AIG's financial products division lost 11 billion Dollars. Instead of being fired Joseph Cassano, the head of AIG FP was kept on as a consultant for a million dollars a month.” (When interrogated on this subject, Martin Sullivan, AIG Financial Products CEO up to June 2008, said, “’… and you want to make sure that the key players and the key employees within AIG FP, that we retain that intellectual knowledge.’”)

The initiative committeeis composed of personalities who are primarily professionally involved in the subject of finance, taxation and/or IT against the background of their often many years of professional experience. Among them are emeritus and still working professors from economics, finance, electrical and computer technology, as well as experienced personalities in the field of asset management, business and administration. Politicians and former politicians are also represented. However, the initiative sees itself as politically independent. 

Felix Bolliger, lic. oec. HSG, owner of Felix Bolliger AG für Vermögensverwaltung1987–2017; Professor em. Beat Bürgenmeier, Professor of the University of Geneva in economics; Professor em. Franco Cavalli, former National Councillor, Head of the Institute for Oncological Researchin Bellinzona; Professor Dr Marc Chesney, professor of finance at the University of Zurich and author of the book “A Permanent Crisis”, Palgrave MacMillan, London 2018. marcchesney.com; Hélène Gache, politician and managing director of an SME in the field of consulting and IT; Professor Dr Anton Gunzinger, Professor Dr ETH, owner of Super Computing Systems(SCS) AG, Zurich; Gérard Jolimay, former managing director of a large service company and now very involved in the political and association world; Andrea Lacroix practised as a lawyer at the Geneva Bar Association for twelve years and currently holds a senior position in the administration of the canton of Geneva; Dick Marty, former member of the Council of States, public prosecutor of the canton of Ticino and former member of the parliamentary delegation to the Council of Europe; Guy Mettan, journalist and politician; Jean-Cédric Michel is active as a lawyer internationally in Switzerland, Europe and the USA; Professor Dr Sergio Rossi, Ph.D., is a full professor at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) at the Department of Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Dr rer. pol. Oswald Sigg, journalist, worked for SDA and SRG (news agency and TV) and in the Federal Administration, 2005–2009 Speaker of the Federal Council and Vice-Chancellor of the Swiss Confederation; Dr iur. Jacob Zgraggen, member of the Executive Board of Bank Julius Baer1981–1993; since 1994 independent business lawyer and member of the board of directors of various SMEs.

 

 

 

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