Fining people for doing a good job

October 14, 2008 10:53 AM

We often draw attention to the way that some people get rewarded for doing a bad job - which is bad enough - but there is another, even more unjust, side to Government in play, too: punishing people for doing a good job. A prime example is in the news this week with the EU fining the taxpayers of seven countries for producing too much milk.


Yes, that's right - with food prices running high and rising, and taxpayers and governments alike strapped for cash, the EU is levying total fines of 340 million euros (£264 million) for farmers doing their job too well.


You would have thought that given the fact people in the EU are struggling to pay their household food bills, and of course the further fact that there are external markets crying out for affordable food, that dairy farmers could expect a pat on the back for being so good at production. The idea that taxpayers in Italy, Austria, Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are going to be actively punished for the success of the industry is obscene - particularly in the current climate.


Just because British taxpayers haven't been fined on this occasion, doesn't mean it doesn't concern us, either. The only reason we aren't being made to cough up is that our farmers are restricting the size of their business or even in some cases pouring milk down the drain. How can it possibly be a good idea to spend millions on eurocrats whose job it is to restrict the size of the farming sector, hold down the food supply and fine innocent taxpayers when farmers do well?


It's not only a shocking waste of taxpayers' money and an illogical waste of time, but it's a disgusting spectacle to see one of the world's richest continents destroying or suppressing food supplies while people elsewhere starve due to shortages and high prices. To be honest, it makes me sick.

We often draw attention to the way that some people get rewarded for doing a bad job - which is bad enough - but there is another, even more unjust, side to Government in play, too: punishing people for doing a good job. A prime example is in the news this week with the EU fining the taxpayers of seven countries for producing too much milk.


Yes, that's right - with food prices running high and rising, and taxpayers and governments alike strapped for cash, the EU is levying total fines of 340 million euros (£264 million) for farmers doing their job too well.


You would have thought that given the fact people in the EU are struggling to pay their household food bills, and of course the further fact that there are external markets crying out for affordable food, that dairy farmers could expect a pat on the back for being so good at production. The idea that taxpayers in Italy, Austria, Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are going to be actively punished for the success of the industry is obscene - particularly in the current climate.


Just because British taxpayers haven't been fined on this occasion, doesn't mean it doesn't concern us, either. The only reason we aren't being made to cough up is that our farmers are restricting the size of their business or even in some cases pouring milk down the drain. How can it possibly be a good idea to spend millions on eurocrats whose job it is to restrict the size of the farming sector, hold down the food supply and fine innocent taxpayers when farmers do well?


It's not only a shocking waste of taxpayers' money and an illogical waste of time, but it's a disgusting spectacle to see one of the world's richest continents destroying or suppressing food supplies while people elsewhere starve due to shortages and high prices. To be honest, it makes me sick.

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