Monday , May 17 2021

Fake News from the Federal Palace | NZZ



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Tax administration had misjudged the number of victims of the marital punishment. The already corrected statistics will now be questioned again. Such mistakes undermine the foundation of democracy.

Christina Neuhaus

Criminal punishment: Dismissing incorrect numbers from tax administration as a simple method error would be too easy. (Picture: Gaëtan Bally / Keystone)

Criminal punishment: Dismissing incorrect numbers from tax administration as a simple method error would be too easy. (Picture: Gaëtan Bally / Keystone)

For years, the federal government published false figures about fiscal disadvantages of married people. Then he must correct the information. Tax administration had been misjudged. Not 80,000 double couples are affected by the custody sentence, but 454,000. Due to the extent of the wrong information, federal council member Ueli Maurer has ordered a report.

An external expert should check the estimation method. However, the expertise presented on Thursday can only partially restore the lack of confidence in the numerical skills of the Swiss Federal Tax Administrator. The expert believes that the new method is fundamental. But he puts a big question mark behind the statistical basics. In his report, he concludes that they are not enough to calculate how many married couples are actually affected by a tax increase. In other words, the number of 454,000 affected couples is unlikely to be the same.

Dismissing incorrect numbers from tax administration as a simple method error would be too easy. Of course, a well-equipped federal administration with over 37,000 full-time positions is not immune to error assessments. Certain fault tolerance also applies to the public sector. But incorrect numbers from the Bundeshaus have been worrying for some time. A few days ago, the federal social security agency acknowledged that the figures for disability observations were incorrect. Just before the vote on social detectives, the official information must be corrected.

Already in June, the Federal Statistical Office had published incorrect numbers. Consequently, only 54 percent of all planned expulsions would have been completed. SVP, who had fought against the so-called difficulty in its implementation initiative, was skummed. It was not until the cantons intervened that the agency published revised figures. A gross failure was committed by the federal council ten years ago. In his statement of Corporate Tax Reform II, he described the economic impact of the reform as less. In 2011, he had to admit that the reform caused recurring tax losses of £ 500 million annually. It came to an appeal to appeal.

After the latest series of divisions, the federal council must now be careful not to jeopardize the trust of state institutions. The CVP initiative "For marriage and family – against marriages" was rejected very strongly in 2016. If the voting population had suspected that the number of tax-exempt couples is likely to be higher than stated in the meetings, the vote would probably have been different. Whether the incorrect figures for the observations affect the vote on the Social Security Act, November 25, shows.

Democracy is based on trust. What happens when this reason is undermined is currently being observed in the United States. Since the last presidential election, hardly a day goes without the concept of false news appearing somewhere. If caught in fake news, it does not help much if you renamed it as "alternative facts" like Trump's advisor Kellyanne Conway. The hill to the unadorned lie is narrow.

By 2017, only 20 percent of Americans said they trusted their government. In Switzerland, it is the opposite. The OECD came to the conclusion last year that more than 80 percent of the population have confidence in the federal council. Yet. Alternative facts from the federal government can only be tolerated by Swiss democracy in exceptional cases.


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