I was at one of my usual haunts this morning, having a bit of breakfast, when I overheard a bunch of middle-aged Greek men talking. “Everywhere I go, people ask me if I have cash? The taxi driver, the restaurant, even the hotel,” said one.
“Yes, if you have cash it’s one price, if you want to use card, it’s another. I don’t like cards,” said a second.
“They usually ask you if you have cash. If not, they say the card machine is broken or not reading,” piped in a third.
They went on to talk about how it is possible to get the government, funded by taxpayers, to pay for the erecting of private buildings. I sat there thinking, “Bloody Hell. Do they not know it is the masses fudging their taxes or outright evading them that landed Greece in its on-going financial crisis?”
Meanwhile, people tell me it’s only a stupid person who doesn’t minimise his or her tax bill. Minimise yes. Sellers or providers of service asking for cash in exchange for giving buyers lower bills bears all the hallmarks of outright evasion. That would explain how it is possible for a popular bread shop owner in West End to send two out of three of her children to an elite private school while a supposedly “rich doctor’s wife” like me to send my one and only child to a state school.
For those who say, “Well, my money is hard-earned. I have to pull up my wellies and scrub X toilets, sell X number of plates of food and beverage…” consider this: my spouse and many other wage-earners work just as hard as you. If you don’t pay your taxes, who is going to pay for the roads you drive on, the schools your children attend, the medical services you seek from publicly-funded hospitals, the safety with which you sleep peacefully at night, knowing that the country is protected from attackers because there are police, the navy, the army, customs and a whole host of other law enforcement agencies safeguarding it?