Friday, 13 November 2015

Day of National Jealousy

Every year a list of the nation's highest earners is published in the daily newspapers. The list also discloses the amount of income they made and how much taxes they paid. Last week Monday the Finnish tax authorities published taxpayers earnings and the newspapers promptly summed up the top earners.

This is something very Finnish, for I have not heard of this phenomena in any other country. Usually one's income is considered a private matter so data on income and taxes are not publicly disclosed in most countries. I myself don't really care how much someone else earns and I don't understand the need to post it in the newspapers.

The discussion for many people for weeks after will be why and how can one person make so much money. The implication being, that it is wrong and sinful to make more money than everyone else and that person must somehow be exploiting the system and others. One co-worker summed it up perfectly when she called it the day of "national jealousy". I guess that's basically what most people feel when they read the list of top earners. In a country where most people are middle class and where everyone should be equal, the fact that someone is earning much more than everyone else really sticks in the craw.

Here is a link to a news article about the list of Finland's top earners in English. According to this article publishing people's salaries may become a thing of the past, if new EU regulations limiting the dissemination of tax data come into play.
Finland's Top Earners

And here is a more extensive list and breakdown.
Big Tax Data Reveal