Antonio Tajani, the European Union Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, has submitted a plan to impose a "vacation tax" on EU taxpayers in order to subsidize holidays for those that are otherwise unable to afford them. In support of the scheme, the EU has declared traveling to be a basic human right. "Traveling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life," Tajani informed a convention of Ministers at the European Tourism Stakeholders Conference meeting in Madrid, Spain.
The particulars of the plan, including the qualifications for receiving a taxpayer-funded vacation and which locales will host those traveling on the taxpayer dime, have yet to be nailed down. According to the broad strokes that have been revealed by the EU, the revenue received under the program will be spent subsidizing the elderly, the young, the disabled, and families confronting "difficult social, financial or personal" hardships. Seniors and the disabled will be permitted to bring a traveling companion on their trips, who will also be sponsored by the superstate.
Ostensibly, the outings funded under the program will foster trans-European cultural awareness. Some possible destinations mentioned by the EU are a tour of factories in Manchester, England, and a visit to the museums of Madrid. If those are the choices, I don't think Manchester will derive much benefit from association with the plan. As for Madrid, all you seniors and students better form an orderly queue.
Predictably, many in Europe oppose such an operation. "The commission is literally considering paying people to go on holiday. In this economic climate, it's astonishing that the EU wants to bribe people with cheap holidays," said Mats Persson, spokesman for Open Europe, a London based eurosceptic think-tank founded by foes of UK adoption of the euro and ratification of the EU constitution.
According to a statement made by Tajani to the Times of London, the program will be tested on select populations until 2013 when it will be implemented continent-wide.
One of the program's primary goals being touted by advocates is the fostering of cross-cultural harmony and understanding among the various peoples of Europe. Northern Europeans visiting resorts in Southern Europe and Southern Europeans spending taxpayer dollars jaunting around the cobblestone alleys of the North. Just one big, happy Euro-family!
Tajani and his bosses at the Hague have endowed the cause of this proposal with the "basic human right" mantle, thus casting all who oppose it as inhuman nationalists who prefer protecting their own wealth to promoting the fuzzier, cozier, more continental "well-being" of their fellow Europeans.
In Puritanical, work-ethic obsessed America, vacations are seen as pleasant perks and a privilege to be earned as the happy reward for months even years of dedicated work. In fact, our Declaration of Independence selects "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" as three of the most paramount unalienable rights with which an all-wise Creator endowed his earthly kin.
While few would argue that holidays usually further the pursuit of happiness, if those holidays are provided at the expense of a heavier tax burden placed upon the already struggling working class, then the lives and liberty of that class are diminished to a degree inversely proportional to the happiness ostensibly afforded to the recipients of the holiday handout.
It is little wonder that governments and people of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and the UK are being daily pressed further down dire financial straits when one realizes that the superstate to which all those once-sovereign nations belong is now governed by amateur alchemists such as Tajani that turn rewards into rights, using the hard-working middle class as their unwitting accomplices.