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Vilvoorde to the doggy rescue

Just about half my street was mobilized this morning to help a scared little dog that was hiding under my neighbour’s stairs. In spite of the media coverage over the last few months Vilvoorde (Belgium) remains a nice place to live. #lovely


Muslim prejudice: part of the problem identified?

M. Sallah Echallaoui, president of the Belgian Muslim Council (Moslimexecutieve) just identified the main problem with prejudice against the Muslim community, but not as he intended. His observation is that the gap between Muslims and Non-Muslims in Belgium has grown. Let’s be honest: he is absolutely right. By his this very observation he has indirectly admitted his own failure to achieve his mission statement, which is to make sure his community is accurately represented in our society. Where is his offer to help fight against terrorism? How is the Muslim Council fighting radicalization? Aren’t you supposed to be part of the solution in stead of another observer of the problem? A simple gesture, M. Echallaoui, is al that is needed: reach out your hand.



Analysis: flexible work week

The Belgian Federal Government is pondering the possibility to move away from the 38 hour work week and introduce a more flexible system that emphasizes on the amount of hours worked in a year. While this might appeal on face value, the idea has some serious pitfalls and arises from a common logical error: its argumentation is based on how the world should work, rather than on reality. The unintentional real world net impact just might be that we will all be working more, or is it? Please continue reading and verify my train of thought.

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Belgian masterclass: VAT as a tool to shift taxes to multinationals

At some point in the future, you might find yourself ruling a country where you are able to take more than 50% of the top of the salaries of all nationals. What to do with all those funds burning a hole in your pocket? Obviously, you first make sure that your budget has a deficit. You’ll soon realize that your nationals still have some disposable income left, which is sacrilege. Additionally, the utility company you sold to your neighboring country has really got you in a pinch, so you might as well pay them off. Here is how is an easy three-step plan to grab some more cash, inconspicuously.

  1. Lower the VAT rate on electricity. Your nationals will go bonkers and sing your praise for quite a while.
  2. At the same time, let the energy company raise their prices. No one will notice and if they do, just blame the market prices.
  3. Recuperate your tax income loss by raising the VAT rate again and present it in a policy with a catchy name, like Tax Shift, that promises a net lowering of taxes. Don’t forget to set an elevated threshold, so most people can’t benefit from the lower taxes.

Topic for next class: raise the age of retirement. You’ll be able to collect taxes for additional years, and get this … you’ll save on pension payments. That’s a double whammy 🙂