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What Will Push Them Over the Edge?

What Will Push Them Over the Edge?

What Will Push Them Over the Edge?

Recently, the people of two of Italy’s most prosperous regions voted in a referendum, on whether they wished to have greater autonomy from Rome. The referendum is non-binding, but that’s not what’s most significant in the results.

What is significant is that over 95% of those who voted in Lombardy did so in favour of greater autonomy. In Veneto, the number in favour of greater autonomy was even higher, at 98%.

Roberto Maroni, president of Lombardy, said, “I now have a commitment… to go to Rome and give concrete actualization to the mandate that millions of Lombards have given me.”

It may appear on the surface that Mister Maroni intends to make an appeal for independence, but this is not what will occur. He’s a politician and won’t invite Rome to jail him for sedition. His goal will instead be to demand that a greater amount of the national income that’s generated by Lombardy and Veneto (about 20% of the total) remains within those regions.

This will not mean that he wants his people to be taxed less; his goal will be to retain a larger portion to be absorbed by the regional governments—to be in his own hands.

So much for the politicians’ agenda. But what does the referendum say about the people of the regions? Well, the extraordinarily high numbers in favour of greater self-determination demonstrate that virtually all the people in the regions have figured out that Rome is bilking them of their earnings and they’re getting pretty cheesed off.

In prosperous times, a population tends not to complain too much about being robbed through taxation. They grumble a bit, but tolerate it. However, in more stringent times, when people are finding it more difficult to make ends meet, they become more resentful of governments that are chronically both overreaching and wasteful.

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