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Friday, May 24, 2024

Is A Nationalisation Of Household Savings In Banks On The Cards?

By: Moja Dolenjska

Last week, we saw announcements about the construction of rental housing based on the so-called Vienna housing model, after which the Robert Golob government is shaping its housing plan. This also means that an additional, so-called housing tax is in store for us. In Vienna, rental housing is financed by the employer (the company) paying half a percent on the gross salary of the worker, and another half a percent is taken from the employee’s gross salary.

If the Golob government implements its plan of bringing the Vienna housing model to our country, this means that the net wages of employees will be even lower, and the competitiveness of the Slovenian economy will also worsen. But that is not all. Maks Tajnikar, the former Minister of the Economy from the ranks of the Social Democrats (Socialni Demokrati – SD), who is now supposedly advising the Left party (Levica), revived his ideas from two years ago on Twitter on Wednesday, the 8th of February. Why introduce an extra tax, why not just use household savings instead?

Tajnikar’s idea is to build rental housing with citizens’ money that is currently stored in the banks. And that is not all. He proposes that the Housing Fund of the Republic of Slovenia (Stanovanjski sklad Republike Slovenije) issue bonds (securities) without maturity with a state guarantee and a fixed interest rate.

The proposal, which the current government will apparently revive, is for the state to take the savers’ money and pay only interest on it. And no maturity means that the principal would not be repaid, but would instead be cashed in on the stock market by the so-called buyers or bondholders. Tajnikar did not explain how exactly this would be implemented. Another great unknown here is the value of the bonds, which could be bought at a low price by so-called financial mongrels (or rather, tycoons), which could, among other things, mean that they would launder the money from the privatisation of former social assets that have been poured abroad or hidden in bank vaults or wherever. Just think of the equity certificates, which in many cases, lost their value very quickly on the market and were bought up by the current tycoons.

Tajnikar also did not clarify whether household savings in banks would simply be confiscated or whether they would be accessed in some other way (e.g., through a strong media campaign and persuasion of the gullible).

In addition to the certificates of ownership that we citizens received under the Act on Privatisation of Real Estate in Social Ownership, where many were ripped off, we have also seen similar bonds in recent years to the ones now being mentioned. Around 100,000 bond buyers, who often transferred their savings into so-called securities on the advice of bankers, were subsequently ripped off under the government of Alenka Bratušek. They were simply expropriated by a government decision under the guise of “bank rehabilitation.” Similarly, Bratušek nationalised the shares of the “Nova Kreditna banka Maribor” (NKBM) bank, owned by private individuals. And now, the government seems to think that it would be much easier to abolish the Housing Fund of the Republic of Slovenia altogether.

Reactions on social media to the latest proposal by a supposed economist of the Left party to finance public housing with citizens’ savings are numerous and indignant. Most are convinced that the government is preparing a forced nationalisation (confiscation) of savings. Many also warn that this could lead to lots of money being withdrawn from bank accounts and subsequently kept at home or transferred abroad. At the same time, the Golob government is announcing a number of changes in the tax area this year, in particular, the taxation of wealth. Ivan Simič, a well-known tax expert, lawyer and financier, warns, among other things, that the new type of wealth taxation could lead to massive cash withdrawals from banks. A similar situation has already occurred this year, when the government proposed and the National Assembly adopted an amendment to the Income Tax Act.

In conclusion, the parallel mechanism is still not running out of ideas on how to manage others’ assets. We, Slovenians, have already been through this once. So many people were ripped off during the time when the government was led by Alenka Bratušek, who today is apparently being rewarded for this with a ministerial post and is also part of the decision-making team of the current Golob government.

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