WHAT'S THE MATTER...

WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH CALABRIA? Strange to see that some things are the same, even in Italian politics:

"It's because they hate private property," Mr. Berlusconi, 69, said, "because they see savings as something that should be taxed." The prime minister also warned that the center-left alliance, which includes Communists, would reintroduce inheritance taxes, which had been cut by his government.

Looking irritated, Mr. Prodi, 66, a former prime minister and until 2004 president of the European Commission, countered that he was tired of having words and programs put in his mouth. "This is the mystification of truth," he said, pointing out that he had specified that inheritance taxes would be applied only to estates worth "many millions" of euros. "I think people can trust my word."

This poses roughly the same question as does the comparable debate in America: Why is the debate on this issue so skewed? Why does the party of the left think it wouldn't be viable to tax estates worth "only" a few million euros? If you don't happen to be a multi-millionaire, the best legacy you can leave for the next generation is the gift of knowledge and wisdom. The kids these days don't really read dead-tree magazines, but an e-subscription to The American Prospect costs even less than a standard subscription and offers access to all our content while making the ideal graduation present.

--Matthew Yglesias

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