Final Word from Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Whenever politicians, think tanks or NGOs want to bring about a drastic change in policy, they pluck figures out of thin air for proving their point. It's usually impossible to verify the numbers. Andrej Babiš claims that VAT fraud costs the country Kč 80bn per year, which would make this form of entrepreneurship one of the largest business sectors. That's so much money that tax officers should be able to spot the fraud with their eyes shut, yet Babiš insisted on invoice matching for joining the dots. It's no surprise, really, that VAT receipts rose by only Kč 3.8bn in the first quarter since invoice-matching was launched, and not by the corresponding Kč 20bn. And now Glopolis tells us that tax havens cost the CR Kč 57bn per year. Is this in addition to the Kč 80bn in VAT fraud, or part of it? Who knows, and who cares, because the goal isn't to be objective; it's to push through new policies that are just as drastic as the old policies were lax. [Czech Republic a canal Panama Papers palindrome]

Glossary of difficult words

A man, a plan ... - an allusion to the best-known palindrome in the English language, "a man, a plan, a canal, Panama";

to pluck - to pick or take hold of;

to join/connect the dots - to associate one idea with another;

lax - not sufficiently strict or severe.

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