Thursday, January 27, 2011

That Voodoo That You Do

The last straw was a financial crisis: in 2009, Romania’s economy shrank by 7.1 percent. To pay state wages and pensions, the government negotiated a 20 billion-euro loan with the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and the World Bank. To close the deficit, new sources of revenue were needed. Last September, Alin Popoviciu and Cristi Dugulescu of the ruling Democratic Liberal Party drafted a law wherein all witches and fortune-tellers would have to produce receipts. More problematic was the law’s specification that witches would be held liable if any predictions they made failed to pass. The senate initially voted down the legislation and Popoviciu accused his fellow legislators of being afraid of hexes. Instead, the witch tax was worked into new labor laws for 2011. --Religion Dispatches

So let's see: to pay for the failed prophecies of a group of government-authorized, MBA-bedecked wizards, another group of wizards is annexed into government supervision and told that if their prophecies fail, they will have to pay.

But can the witches force, say, weather forecasters to fund their bad calls? And then the weathermen could get reimbursed by-- I don't know, public-health types whose bird flu predictions go south? And... soon they'll have to hit up lotto players whose kids' birthdays don't pan out. No, I know-- high-school graduation speakers! For each graduate who never joins the high fliers who soar to great heights, that'll be 500 bucks.

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