By William K. Black
May 30, 2018 Bloomington, MN
The European Union’s (EU) leadership continues to prove our family rule that it is impossible to compete with unintentional self-parody. “EU leadership” is an oxymoron, largely composed of regular morons. Consider only two examples — European Commission (EC) President Jean-Claude Juncker and Commissioner and Budget and Human Resources Minister (one of the EC’s most powerful leadership positions) Günther Oettinger.
Juncker heads the EC because he led the most infamous EU tax giveaway to wealthy corporations as Luxembourg’s finance minister and then prime minister. Whistleblowers and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) eventually exposed the fact that for over a decade the wealthiest companies in the world created front companies in Luxembourg and met secretly with the finance minister to negotiate secret sweetheart deals allowing the companies to pretend to earn their income in Luxembourg – and to pay obscenely low tax rates. The secret deals “allowed some of them to pay effective tax rates of less than 1 percent on profits shuffled into Luxembourg.” Luxembourg is so tiny that even at these ridiculously low tax rates the covert deals made the country wealthy (at the direct expense of the public sectors of other EU nations and the United States). Juncker’s eagerness to aid plutocrats made him the EU’s longest-serving leader as Luxembourg’s PM until a different scandal brought him down. These sweetheart tax scandals led, not prevented, Juncker’s elevation to run the EC. In response to the exposure of the scandal, Luxembourg: greatly increased the number of sweetheart deals, prosecuted the whistleblowers and the investigative journalists, and took no action against Luxembourg’s “let’s make a deal” leaders or the plutocrats (which included Koch Industries).