Millions of stupid and jealous Czech sheep embrace the new "1984"
Unless something unexpected happens – and I pray that it will – the first batch of 50,000 of Czech businesses, mainly restaurants and hotels etc., will be obliged to immediately report every single payment from a consumer to the ministry of finance led by the Slovak-born food industry billionaire, media mogul, a VIP ex-member of the communist party, and a former communist snitch Andrej Babiš (net worth over $3 billion).
The consumer gets a receipt and he or she – an amateur snitch – will be able to send the receipt's ID to a server of the ministry and verify that the payment has been reported by the business. A motivation is that he may win a lottery for the amateur snitches. Andrej Babiš's former career of a snitch is seen in every aspect of this sick system. If the payment hasn't been reported, the businessman will immediately face existentially threatening fines and other punishments that the minister himself may decide about – or forgive. The law defining the EET things is a classic "rubber law" that may be bent by the executive power. It's a similar kind of a law that made Adolf Hitler the Führer.
This system is meant to guarantee that the taxes from that payment – every payment – will be sent to the government. Andrej Babiš, a member of the very bottom of the Czechoslovak moral cesspool who would have been executed in late 1989 if we hadn't decided to make our revolution in the "velvet" way (for example, their dirty family disinherited a relative who "dared to emigrate" from the communist Czechoslovakia, to emphasize how deeply into the communist leaders' aßes they are willing to climb in order to keep their undeserved advantages), and a guy who already owns most of the largest newspapers, will have access to all the information about every single cash payment to every business on the territory of Czechia, at least after all businesses are included into the system in a coming year or so.
The totalitarian monstrosity is called EET or "e-tržby" ("e-revenues"). The acronym translates as the "electronic register of payments" or something of the sort. Croatia has been running the same thing under the name "fiscalization" (and the machine is called "fiskalna blagajna", a fiscal cash register). Hungary and Slovakia are half-running something of the sort but Czechia will only be the second country running this stuff in a full-fledged way. And you may see that the countries that have adopted this stuff don't really belong to the "core of the West". Croatia has seen no increase of the tax revenue, lousy growth rates, and about 1/5 of the businesses were closed because of this policy that started in 2013 over there.
The justification of this policy is that "small business owners are thieves" and all small businesses therefore deserve a system to prevent them from tax evasion. Stupid, myopic employees like this hateful suggestion along with the implicit "no employees are thieves". I will discuss this "class struggle" later.
A decade ago, a similar system of "cash registers" was planned. They would have been more expensive machines that permanently and safely record the payments, instead of sending them to the ministry through the Internet. Needless to say, an overwhelming majority of smaller businesses opposes the plan. The rare exceptions are being shown in the media excessively frequently.
Now, there are dozens of obvious reasons why it is a catastrophically sick idea. First, there are the seemingly technical ones. Businesses will have to pay at least some $500 and sometimes much more once for the tablet(s) or computer(s) and printer(s). They will have to install the applications – and probably pay much more to some companies doing these services. Almost none of the companies parasiting on this new law serves for free so there will be some extra $50-like monthly fees and many people will have to pay for new Internet connectivity, another $50, and so on.
I am talking about these small fees because for tons of pubs and restaurants etc. (and there will be even more modest self-employed people included into the scheme later!), these extra expenses will be existential and will simply kill those who run them – because their running is already a kind of charity. Babiš and the stinky scum backing him has already explained that all businesses that will close will be considered thieves, much like the businesses whose income will increase (because they must have evaded taxes in the past, the "logic" says – while assuming that the growth is impossible). You must have exactly the same profit as before, love the system, smack your lips, spit on your disappeared competition, and lick the rectum of Mr Babiš to be removed from the list of thieves.
When we're making trips to the countryside, it will suddenly become much harder to find a restaurant where one can have a lunch, and so on. The businesses must be really angry but I am sufficiently angry already as a consumer. In early 1990s, I wouldn't have believed that something like that would be proposed by a parliamentary party in my lifetime again. Well, I have clearly been an optimist for much of my life.
For many businesses, the skills needed to run the gadgets will be fatal, too. All the business owners will really be required to have an electronic signature. I've understood all the maths behind the electronic signature at some point in my life. But I have forgotten and more to the point, I have no intuition what the work with the electronic signature requires in practice. What would I do with it if I were obliged to deal with this junk? I am arguably not a complete idiot but this sort of stuff will be basically required from 80-year-old women who are selling woven baskets or sweaters somewhere on the countryside markets, too.
It's just utterly insane. You can't expect all citizens of a country to be familiar with things like the electronic signature, hashing, etc. Even if you teach them "what to do" without expecting that they understand "what's happening inside", there will be lots of risks and problems. Something may break and they will be in a big trouble. Small business owners or self-employed people don't have to be an intellectual elite. It's just a way of life – a freer way of life that was reclassified as the "cooler one" again in 1989 and that ultimately generates most of the progress in the economy (and all big companies had to start as small ones – which is why Babiš's attitude dismissing small companies is just a reflection of his being a šitty entrepreneur who can only work as a boss of a socialism-style monopoly where stagnation is good enough to survive) and I am terrified that some people want to return us before 1989 and perhaps make the hurdles for the people doing their work independently higher than they were during communism (because during communism, you could actually hire a private plumber or anything like that, they didn't pay taxes for the work at all, and it was largely tolerated because the commies knew that millions of people would be angry because they didn't have good alternatives; these officially invisible contracts were called a "melouch" or a "fuška").
"Small companies have the value of a fart," Babiš often says. Because he is just an apparatchik who has basically tunneled out a large communist monopoly when it was already large, this would-be amateur economist completely misunderstands the dynamics of commercial progress. A society with a future simply can't suppress a whole segment of the "food chain". See the ten big companies that started in a garage. The photo above is Apple.
People doing some ordinary crafts simply can't be expected to be IT experts and it's insane to expect that each of them employs an extra IT expert or secretary to take care of this registration of all payments. After all, an IT expert should be paid more money than an 80-year-old women selling her hand-woven sweaters. People must be free to do haircuts for others and it's unacceptably insane to demand hairdressers to have to learn about hashing or Internet protocols or whatever. They shouldn't even be required to know how to work with a tablet or a printer. Why should everyone know such things? Does Babiš et al. really want to destroy all hairdressers who aren't good with tablets or computers? What about these people's lives and what about their satisfied consumers?
Now, this will be a new giant waste of time of all the business owners, waiters and other employees, and all the consumers. In certain situations, e.g. some big cultural events with lots of people buying lots of food, these differences in the time that you need will have huge consequences for the comfort of everyone. The electronic devices will occupy a significant amount of space that could be used for something useful, queues will be forming at many places, and so on. Mountains sometimes don't have the Internet connectivity so special exceptions for the cottages have to be invented etc.
In recent days, the server souki.cz run by an e-shop expert pointed out (and so did several others) that the new law may be deadly for very many e-shops whose owners will probably give it up, too. A subtlety that was suddenly appreciated is that Babiš actually wants the payments by credit/debit cards and even buttons from PayPal etc. to be reported in real time as well, much like the cash on delivery (unless the product is delivered by a separate courier service that sends the money by a bank transfer – bank transfers generally save you from the EET duties).
Are this giant Bolshevik aßhole and its clueless fans serious?
We live in the 21st century and new innovative ways of payment etc. are emerging and changing every year. And this guy wants to demand some old-fashioned reporting to every "click on the Internet" of this type? How will all the international services that otherwise easily spread to new countries deal with the new hurdles? Even payments that are registered electronically somewhere must be "re-registered" according to the law. Needless to say, Babiš is absolutely no expert in modern IT technologies etc. For example, he learned about the meaning of the Bitcoin today. He is just a f*cked-up jerk who has fooled his fellow Bolshevik directors in Petrimex, a communist company he led as a corporate communist apparatchik, got rid of them, and expanded this retailer of manure and stuff of similar flavors through its de facto monopoly status. So why the hell does this annoying bumpkin think that he has the credentials to dictate the whole Czech Internet what their applications must and mustn't contain?
Needless to say, the policy won't lead to any improvement of the budget. Some business owners will pay more taxes. Their living standards will decrease, and so will their consumers' living standards because the prices will go up. Some of the businesses will be closed so the government will lose the taxes from them entirely. And many of the business owners reclassify themselves as the unemployed people and the government will pay them welfare subsidies instead. Moreover, business owners who are evading taxes aren't really giving any real receipts to anyone and there will just continue in this policy. You don't want a receipt, so you get better conditions. EET changes nothing about it at all. Also, there already exists cheating software to erase some items that may be erased to save taxes etc. Because the business owners are being treated so badly, many more of them – including those who have been totally honest and paid every tax penny so far – will think that they have the moral right to avoid taxes by some trick.
The whole ideology justifying the policy may only be taken seriously by mental cripples.
And I could also talk about the ways how the accumulated data about all the cash transactions in Czechia could be hacked, abused by hackers from anywhere or by Babiš himself, how they could be sold by the bureaucrats from the ministry – whom I obviously can't trust as if they were saints – to a subset of the competing businesses, and so on. One could talk for hours why this EET is a bad idea for many technical reasons.
But all these problems are negligible in comparison with the main issue which is the moral one.
What I am absolutely terrified by is that a primitive anti-intellectual bumpkin reserves the "right" to convict business owners and stand above all of them even though he is just a worthless piece of manure relatively to many other Czechs.
He thinks that he has the right to say who is a thief and who is ethical (whoever helps him to steal the subsidies and whoever parrots his idiotic and totalitarian opinions is "nice" and everyone else is a thief, of course, starting from the Parliamentary opposition; he dismisses the whole Parliamentary debate as a farce, just like Hitler did); and he thinks he has the right to say who is allowed to run a business. The "thieves" in this imbecile's view include almost all the self-employed people and small business owners so his crusade is just another copy of the Marxist class struggle, one that differs from the old Marxism (and from the program of the communist party) by his demanding one exception from the nationalization etc. – his own company Agrofert Holding. There is actually a nonzero risk that Babiš plus the (unreformed) communists will get more than 50% of the Parliament after the 2017 elections. In that case, we may easily get a new communism with the full-fledged nationalization, terror, and a business exception for Babiš himself (the communists must allow this exception, otherwise they won't return to the government anytime soon). Babiš doesn't differ from the communists in anything except that he wants to keep his own wealth. Of course, I will have to learn how to use the gun and participate in the civil war because during such coalition negotiations, democracy will have obviously and totally failed and weapons will have to be used instead. I don't want to be one of the citizens who will have allowed another 40 years of totalitarianism by failing to shoot the emerging first new dictator in time.
Clearly, it's not just him. He couldn't do these things if his personal Führer-style political party ANO – and the communist and socialist parties that endorsed EET at the critical moment (although 1/2 of the current Senate candidates from social democracy dislike EET, for example) – weren't able to fill more than 50% of the Parliament. But the Parliament simply did approve the monstrosity so it seems plausible that it will come into force since December 1st.
When you talk to the supporters of Babiš and of this particular monstrosity in a friendly way, you easily find out what is the mental state of the people who support this dirt. Almost all of them are simple people who are jealous or who believe that the successful people around them are stealing all the time or are bribing etc. – either because they have seen an example or, more likely, because they simply assume that their being losers can't possibly be their fault.
Most importantly, this rabble allows an "exception" for Babiš because they realize that according to his "DNA code", he is one of them. He speaks like every other bumpkin and loser in the pub. He is using extremely simple sentences all the time. His IQ is self-evidently low. He is "one of them". Every simple jealous citizen knows that Babiš isn't really better in anything substantial so they are not jealous. And he wants to destroy all the "real entrepreneurs". They reinterpret his wealth as a "weapon that fights against the wealthy class" which makes him attractive among the losers.
Their mental dissonance is sometimes just amazing.
Take a person whom I know extremely well, who is very skillful and was a small business owner during most of his productive life (including some softer epochs of communism), and who has claimed to be right-wing for some 30 years but now is a fanatical supporter of Babiš. We walk around a plundered farm in Central Bohemia (such things may be seen in the countryside but not in bigger towns anymore) and he talks about the communists who destroyed the owner around 1948 just because he belonged to the "wrong class". Needless to say, the farm was disintegrating in the following decades and the ruin is what we're left with. Then we eat sausages in a local grill and I say that this grill – or some other businesses we have visited – may be closed due to EET in 2 months (about 1/5 is expected to close right now and many others will try to overcome serious problems). The person begins to praise Babiš, completely failing to realize that the 1948-2016 analogy is almost perfect.
In both cases, a populist bastard whose language reproduces the language of the median angry inhabitant of the countryside – either the communist leader Klement Gottwald in 1948 (a typical member of the working class) or the communist snitch Andrej Babiš in 2016 – polarizes the society by making a gullible rubble hate and demonize a whole wealthier class. And then he uses this fabricated hatred to actually and physically decimate the hated class. The whole society has obviously paid for that after 1948 and it will do so now, too.
What's even more amazing is that this supporter of Babiš was not only self-employed before he retired; but almost certainly, he would also have brutal problems with the EET apps. After years of using computers etc. in some way, and just like many others who have completed the basic school plus an apprentice training, he can't distinguish concepts such as a login screen, wallpaper, program or application, Internet browser, Firefox, Chrome, a web page, and the Seznam.cz (Czech Google.com competitor) web page; kilobyte from a gigabyte; the memory occupied by offline maps of the whole Europe and by a small 10 MB app; who is obsessed with the idea that the Flash memory of a tablet must be 99% empty at all times. Explaining how to switch from a Czech to English keyboard layout by 1 click is impossible in less than 10 minutes and without lots of anxiety. But for some reasons, he thinks that it's not a problem when small business owners will be obliged to do all these things. I just can't possibly understand this utter incoherence and irrationality. Or a complete lack of empathy. Or whatever is behind this weird attitude.
The number of Czechs who are "more supporters than foes" of the EET plan may have surpassed 50%. Czechs are highly down-to-Earth, mostly left-wing, and jealousy probably belongs to the stereotypical national character. However, the Czech nation is not the body of mindless sheep that Babiš would love to imagine and that probably describes the set of his idiotic supporters. People who can only lick the rectum of a strong leader – even if he is a primitive moron like Babiš – and mindlessly work as employees where the control is ultimately exerted by the most powerful people in the government or their close friends.
My point is that there already exist – or there always existed – significant "other or higher classes" in the Czech nation. The number of entrepreneurs and self-employed people is safely above half a million, not far from 10% of the productive people, and one gets to a few million when families and dependents are added. I am confident that this body of EET foes is more important for the progress of Czechia than the EET supporters, even if the EET foes make up less than 50%. But it's the people who largely make the country work. Many of those have followed politics very closely throughout their lives. They know everything I wrote above and, in many respects, much more than that. Also, they know something about the history and what happened when certain totalitarian decisions weren't assertively opposed.
Babiš is a typical Bolshevik who was used to the regime where the party had a complete control over everyone and who didn't obey the orders could have been literally or de facto imprisoned. But he missed some changes that took place in 1989 and soon afterwards. He may have the tools to terrorize entrepreneurs through the Czech IRS. But he doesn't really have the full control over the police, the media, and other limbs that were needed for the totalitarian regime's control over the society to be total.
For example, one thing he obviously failed to realize is that we still have the press freedom in Czechia. A typical event: Novinky.cz, a top news server he doesn't control, informed about ways how the entrepreneurs are trying to avoid EET, subtract a part of the transactions, and so on. (I am sure that in these activities, Czechs are more sophisticated and creative than e.g. the Croats.) They are fairly informing about important events in the society. But in a totalitarian society, the likes of comrade Babiš could simply ban the newspapers from publishing these "guides". Or ban them altogether. The would-be Führer must have overlooked that he failed to acquire this full power today. At least so far.
So there will be new and new articles explaining why he is a sick totalitarian crackpot, articles in which people explain why they hate Babiš. You know, presidents Havel, Klaus, and Zeman (and other politicians) have been hated by millions of people in one way or another, for different reasons. (The Czech president asks Obama: How many Americans hate you? Some 10.5 million. OK, so it's the same everywhere.) But it's one thing to hate a politician because he's vaguely associated with some changes in the society – like your neighbor's getting wealthier – that you don't like. And it's another thing when a single politician is basically responsible for threatening if not destroying your whole business that you have nurtured for years if not much of your life.
I am pretty sure that hundreds of thousands of Czechs understand the situation and hate Babiš really, really strongly because his crusade against the business freedom in Czechia has crossed a red line and became extremely personal. I am sure that thousands of people in my country are thinking about the timing of Andrej Babiš's death (will it be before December 1st, for example?) and hundreds are thinking about some details, too (I am not). Also, I think that there are many more skillful hackers etc. in Czechia than in Croatia and around December 1st, the server adisspr.mfcr.cz which may be expected to monitor the whole economy may be under some attack. Anonymous (or someone pretending to be "them") have vaguely promised something of the sort if the EET isn't abolished.
What he's screwing about our country is just way too serious and it's becoming comparable to the brutal changes in September 1938, March 1939, February 1948, or August 1968. However, I believe that in 2016, the people who care about the preservation of the basic characteristics of the post-1989 free society are actually facing a weaker foe. I don't know whether the first wave of EET on December 1st or a following wave of EET will ignite some intense backlash (restaurants start Dec 1, 2016; in March 2017, shops are added; almost all entrepreneurs are added in March 2018, except for production in small businesses that start in June 2018, I just saw somewhere). But I do think that we may be close enough to the last droplet when the dissatisfied freedom-loving citizens will start with the song of the angry men, regardless of views of Babiš's stupid sheep.