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The tax law crisis

Jun 08,2018 - Last updated at Jun 08,2018

First off, I have to admit that I am neither an economist, nor have I the academic training of one. However, as a keen scholar, I deem it a national duty to pitch in and have a say about this ongoing, boiling issue.

As far as I know, our tax law has been revised and altered as many as four times in less than a decade! In other words, it has been revised once every two years, a fact unsurpassed in any other country on the face of earth! And the sad aftermath is that one side of the country is talking against, rather than to the other side about this intricate, take-home money subject!

Because of that, last Wednesday, May 30, witnessed heartbreaking, distressing demonstrations throughout the country against the controversial, ill omened proposed law submitted to the Parliament, which are likely to escalate in the days to come should it not be instantaneously withdrawn.

Even to experts in the field, the specifics and the stipulations of the law in question constitute an aura of ambiguity. Ironically, we too can propose our own version of a tax “deal of the century” with all the catastrophic, socioeconomic consequences it entails thereafter that shall damagingly affect the life quality of all Jordanians, poor and rich alike.

Now that new law has roughly materialised, it becomes evident that it is unwittingly aimed at dedicated taxpayers more than anyone else, many of whom are governmental and private sector servants with unchanging, modest salaries that scarcely suffice to meet the basic requirements of day-to-day life essentials.

This specific category, forming the so-called middle class, feel they are unjustly treated and prejudiced against, due to a strong belief that they get no sensible governmental amenities in return for the taxes they have to pay, including employment rates, factories, schools, transportation, playgrounds, medical conveniences, health insurance, roads, road services and other public services to mention just a few examples.

In spite of the government’s decision, following orders by His Majesty King Abdullah, to stop concurrent hikes in the prices of fuel and electricity, riots, road closures, tyre burning and protests sadly took place almost everywhere in the country.

The crucial question remains in the end: How much money can the government really raise from taxpayers? Shall the revenues, in that case, really continue to go up, if the government continues to raise the tax rate? If the government keeps raising the tax rate and altering the tax law indefinitely, why shall anyone work in the end if the government is going to take almost a total of 40 per cent of the money they make?

The ill proposed, intensely debated tax law will not help! The best, wise policy is tax cuts instead! Otherwise, we shall be completely at the mercy of the World Bank taxes and loans forever. We shall never grow our economy right, and the “donations” of developed countries will never, ever suffice for any purpose whatsoever!

Citizens' pockets, the ongoing tax raising and price hikes alone, without implementing large-scale economic production and comprehensive, wide-ranging investment plans in commerce, industry, agriculture and education, will, for sure, lead to no economic reform and development. Instead, it will lead to a pathetic, irreparable sequential cluster of financial disasters! 

Only Jordanians can build Jordan, and for that, we cannot rely on non-Jordanians to build a country we call home. The best way out of this perplexing dilemma, in my view, is to withdraw the lamentable proposal for the last time, and forever, it is hoped, and think of innovative, well-thought, more productive, country-saving alternatives!

Jordanians deserve better, and may the Almighty save Jordan!

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