June 22, 2011

The prevailing corruption is a mere symptom of, or perhaps the only logical conclusion to, the unbounded growth of the state, which for decades has been oppressing Colombians under an almost unparalleled tributary despotism.

An income tax which ranks among the highest in the world only marks the beginning of this fiscal subjugation. One then encounters the dreaded “4 x 1000 tax,” a duty placed on all monetary transactions. Then there are local taxes as well as a VAT of 16%. Add to that the motor-vehicle tax which the state readily charges despite the fact that, by imposing a disastrous decongestion scheme called “pico y placa” on the country’s principal cities, it doesn’t allow automobile owners to make full use of their property. For a select few there is also the war tax first imposed by Mr. Uribe and now euphemistically known as the “patrimony tax.” Finally, there are the additional costs of paying for private security since the state, which has enough income to arm itself to the teeth, appears incapable of guaranteeing the physical security of its citizens and their property.

What Colombians actually gain from the constant stream of checks they endorse to the government recalls the saying that Latin Americans pay Scandinavian taxes in order to receive African services. I’m still waiting to hear a politician suggest that a possible solution is having fewer politicians.

In a country where only 102 Senators represent 45 million inhabitants, none of the state-subsidized political parties is going to introduce measures that will eventually cut its own subsistence. And Colombia’s political class, regardless of ideology, governs by means of a blind faith in the state’s power to bring about human happiness.

From the left’s eternal enthusiasm for using the state as a tool to impose economic equality upon the citizenry (the Liberal Party has been a member of the Socialist International since 1999) to the right’s insistence on implementing drug prohibition by military means, statism reigns in Colombia, and seldom with propitious results.

As the country prepares to commemorate the bicentennial of its independence from Spain, the citizen finds himself subjected to a parasitical political class and a usurping, inefficient state which has grown beyond any reasonable proportions.

Until the citizen achieves some degree of liberty from the kleptocrats who control the state Leviathan, there is hardly any reason to celebrate.



Sign Up to Receive Our Latest Updates!