Disaster? Depends for Whom

The police investigation into the Tax Authority is the best thing that's happened to the public since the State Comptroller sprouted fangs. No wonder Big Business has been moaning that it's a "catastrophe".

It certainly is, for them. They won't be able to send their proxies or even their own selves over for a cozy seaside lunch with some top tax official in order to get a sweetheart deal.

"The state is being run by lawyers," complained one top businessman. "People are afraid to move and make any decisions without a lawyer's OK. It began with the state comptroller investigations and now it's grown into this investigation into the Tax Authority.

"The system will become even more bureaucratic. It won't function," he continued, in a voice portending doom.

The system will break down, lamented lawyers and top government officials in the weekend press. "You can't use make judgment calls, show any flexibility any more," they complained.

Yes! That is the very beauty of this affair. The thought that top tax officials had been appointed just to help their buddies pay less tax is infuriating.

Everybody knew that the rich got special deals at the taxman, and that cronies did too. But we couldn't prove it. these sweetheart tax arrangements also looked dauntingly complicated.

The end is nigh

The police investigation into the top echelons of the Tax Authority may be a sign that the end is nigh. We can at least hope so. The end, of the wink-wink nudge-nudge special treatment for the brothers and cousins of, of fixing in government circles.

The first who tried to instill proper order in government was the State Comptroller. He tread on so many rotten toes that sincere efforts were made by top officialdom to undermine his moral and practical authority, taking advantage of little mistakes made along the way.

And then came the sweeping police investigation into alleged corruption at the Tax Authority.

Even if the people presently under suspicion turn out to be pure as the driven snow, which seems rather unlikely, the probe achieved a major goal: deterrence.

No longer can bureaucrats quietly bend over backwards for their buddies ("flexibility"), without fearing a public backlash. They will have to obey the rules. Friendships from the Scouts, school and army mess hall won't help; friends of friends won't be entitled to discounts any more.

We may assume that the public sector will strive to stretch backwards and return to the times of sweetheart deals. But they'll have to be done a lot more cleverly, which means they'll be a lot less of them. And who knows, one day, maybe they will be eradicated outright.