Perché questa farvi arrabbiare?

The outgoing government officials in Italy seem to have a penchant for spite. Or an extraordinary lack of common sense, or a warped idea of how to balance individual privacy against openness about government activity. Or maybe it’s just an act of sheer Italian randomness. But for whatever the reason, the Italian flair for government once again demonstrated itself this morning as, for about eight hours, the government’s website had the reported income and tax contribution figures for every Italian available to the general public.

As one might expect, within hours the amount of traffic on the site overwhelmed it and the government finally had to take the site down. Turns out that everyone in Italy was very curious to find out what their friends and neighbors made. But it also turns out that, as with most gossipy sorts of things, people would rather it had been a one-way street — I want to know what my neighbor makes, but I don’t want my neighbor to know what I make. (That’s not a particularly Italian attitude, so much as simple human nature.)

The timing of the move is distinctive — power is to be transferred over the weekend and the outgoing government had made a powerful plank of its platform a reform of the way Italians report and pay taxes so that more people paid their fair share as a way of attacking deficit spending.

Gee, why are people so upset?

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.