Photo: AP/Andrew Medichini
Silvio Berlusconi appears to be in clear 2nd place for this weekend’s Italian election.But it’s close.
And it appears he’s attempting what could be a legendary dirty trick.
To back up a moment… in his attempt to hit deficit goals, Prime Minister Mario Monti instituted a modest property tax called the IMU.
The whole tax only raised about $4 billion last year, but as a show of Italy’s attempt to be on board with the rest of Europe’s plans to trim deficits, it served a purpose of signaling to the ECB and Germany and other peers that they were “reforming.”
But of course everyone hates taxes. And earlier in the campaign, Silvio Berlusconi promised to set up a fund that would refund the entire IMU.
This would be a big setback if you think the country’s problem is credibility, which many people blame for its persistently high borrowing costs.
But now Berlusconi has taken the promise one step further.
According to reports, he’s sent out a letter promising a tax refund if he wins, and it’s written in such a way that people are lining up NOW at the post office to get the refund forms, even though obviously no such forms exist.
Another report implies it’s written in such a way that says you have to have voted for Berlusconi to even be eligible.
Berlusconi is clearly behind, but he’s making people very nervous. We’ll know soon the impact of a mass mailing like this.
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