– Det er ingen i verden som kan fortelle folkevalgte i Ungarn hvilke lover som skal vedtas og ikke.
Du må gjerne lese sitatet to, tre ganger før du får vite at det er statsminister og leder av partiet Fidez, Viktor Orbán, som har uttalt seg til media.
Studenter i politisk økonomi burde nå stupe ned i valgmaterialet og finne valgløftene til Fidez. Var innføring av 2/3 majoritetskrav blant løftene? Var svekkelse av sentralbanken et løfte? Var innblanding i rettsvesenet et løfte? Var innføring av flat skatt et løfte?
Rett før nyttår sendte jeg deg til Paul Krugmans kollega Kim Lane Scheppele, som skriver flott om Ungarn. Her er tre uttdrag fra hennes siste:
Ignoring stern warnings from European Commission President José Barroso, the Fidesz government just pushed through two cardinal laws on financial matters. The new law on the central bank (the Magyar Nemzeti Bank or MNB) gives the prime minister the right to appoint all vice-presidents of the bank, when previously the president of the central bank initiated the nominations process himself. No longer. He must now work with the vice-presidents that the government provides for him without having any input into the process of selecting them.
The new Economic Stability Law – also a target of EU criticism – creates a permanent flat tax, requiring all personal wage income to be taxed at the same rate, starting in January 2013. While the law does not specify the rate of taxation, the very flatness of the tax sets limits on how much the rich can be made to pay. As one observant commentator has noted, Prime Minister Orbán has been very dependent on a group of wealthy Hungarians to support his media operations and his political party. The personal income flat tax will protect their wealth from future progressive taxation.
Why is the Hungarian government doing this? For some years now, the Hungarian government has been in financial trouble. It borrows in foreign currencies, and the debts balloon each time the forint (the national currency) falls. Between June and December, the Hungarian forint fell 13% against the euro and 18% against the Swiss franc (in which much of Hungary’s private debt is denominated). Under the previous Socialist government, national debt expanded, causing Hungary at the start of 2008 to turn to the IMF for emergency support.