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Columns

September 1, 2009

On the Right Side: Taxes OK if they are used well

Radu Cristea is a special Romanian friend from Cluj-Napoca and has been indispensable in the work I am doing there. It would have been almost impossible for me to have accomplished anything without his advice and unselfish assistance.

Radu is a successful entrepreneur and small businessman and has his finger on the pulse of everyday Romanian life.

I asked him to write something for me that reflects his opinion on taxes and public health care in his country. After making massive cuts to his original article, this is what he came up with. I hope you enjoy it.

I'm not upset for paying taxes. I don't have a problem that taxation is so high for small businesses _ even though small- and medium-sized companies are the engine that moves the economy forward.

I mean, after all, we do need strong national revenue. If a company is taxed, it pays a part of its income or profits to the government so the government can pay for public services such as education, health care, military and police.

Paying all these taxes would not bother me at all if the money would go to the right places, where it's needed the most. However, finding out about overpriced acquisitions for government contracts delivered to certain politicians through companies owned by their wives, sons or relatives deeply disturbs me.

Seeing the poor quality of the centralized health care system and the low remuneration that doctors get deeply disturbs me. I see the government wasting money every day like crazy, and this drives me nuts.

Now, as I said, the government collects taxes and then distributes the funds to all public services, including health care. The Romanian health care system has been in existence since 1700, and it has had many an unsung hero since. During the 1828 plague in Bucharest, 21 out of 26 doctors died of plague whilst administering treatment for the disease.

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