Armstrong Economics Blog/European Union
Re-Posted Oct 17, 2017 by Martin Armstrong
QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong, you said when you were here in Berlin that the EU Commission is about as incompetent as the US Congress. You also said Macron is trying to federalize Europe as the solution Could you elaborate on that comment?
ANSWER: The EU Commission at present is composed of 28 Commissioners, who must always ensure that they are dependent on the nomination from the home country mush as American congressmen who are supposed to represent their state. Every member of the Commission, therefore, has a personal self-interest in staying in office. The complexity of regulations and initiatives often have hidden agendas that are often far too difficult to identify. One of the proposals of Macron is to reduce the Commission to just 15 eliminating state representation and the priority would then, in theory, be given to the professional competence of the candidates rather than representing member states. This would be the FEDERALIZATION of Europe and totally eliminate and democratic process. The people would have no say in changing the direction of Europe.
Macron is proposing to create European politicians. To deal with the end of a democratic process, he has suggested that these 15 commissioners be elected by all EU citizens in the longer term. He has said that with BREXIT, the British vacancies should be the first to be open to elections of all remaining Europeans in the EU. When commissioners are elected by their own politicians, then Macron argues they are not being elected by a European choice of citizens.
In fact, a smaller Commission and a Parliament he hopes would portray Europe as a whole that would forge the EU as a single government at last. This is argued would end the current paralysis that the EU is unable to get out of the economic hole it finds itself in and the ECB has failed with its stimulation to end deflation for nearly 10 years of quantitative easing
Europe suffers from extremely high taxes, taxes and social security contributions combined, which account for around 50% of the business cost which has produced nothing but higher levels of unemployment. In the US and Asia, the comparative rates are between 30% and 40%. Europe just cannot compete in the world economy and is slowly dying.
Macron wants to unify the corporation tax of all EU states or at least the Eurozone members and to make them available to an EU for infrastructure investments. Macron still fails to see that higher taxes produce lower economic growth. Until politicians wake up and see themselves are the source of the problem, there is little hope in producing meaningful economic reform anywhere in the world.After all EU countries suffer from financial distress, the plan can only lead to even more taxes being collected and not less. This also limits the scope of the holdings.
The development of the internal market is constantly being discussed because Europe cannot really compete in the world economy with a high tax burden. However, the fundamental obstacle to creating the internal market within Europe they believed would be settled with a single currency. But that has not proven to be correct as it has merely imposed austerity upon Southern Europe after forcing their past debt to be redenominated in Euro, which then doubled in real value.
Companies operating across Europe are forced to have their own accounting system for each country and act as if they were companies in the country in which they are exporting. The cost of compliance with different rules and taxes in every member state defeats the entire idea of a single currency would solve everything.
Then there is the EU going after Apple and Amazon claiming they were given unfair tax advantages by Ireland and Luxembourg sho they should pay retroactively the difference to the higher tax rate in Europe.
In addition, a complex control system was used to make larger tax evasion responsive to even the smallest billing. There is no talk about these obstacles because each state believes that the existing regulation will generate more tax revenues. A uniform value-added tax and the distribution of revenues to all Member States have been rejected by the member states.
The different VAT tax rates among member states are illustrated here. There is no uniformity. sentences are only part of the problem.
Then there is the Pension Crisis. which is setting the stage where the public sector is facing an explosion of the deficits from 2018 onward.
The reduction of the tax burden MUST be the number one priority, yet that is never addressed. The European Central Bank will not be able to maintain zero and minus interest rates forever. As a result, the states will have to pay higher interest rates on outstanding debt and new debt, which will have an explosive impact on the deficits. We are coming to the point where this system of perpetually borrowing more and more every year will be impossible to maintain once the people begin to realize Europe is in an economic death spiral.
The core problem is never addressed. All of these proposals on how to end the European economic paralysis simply never consider the role of government and its leftist Marxism that failed in China and Russia. They will continue to raise the retirement age across Europe to try to survive another year. Europe has become an economic catastrophe of untold proportions. The high tax burden prevents a dynamic renewal of the economy reducing the standard of living for everyone and perpetuating high unemployment as twice that of the rest of the industrialized world.