And why?

It’s yesterday’s news, but still very actual today, that Italy’s gas prices have risen to their highest ever, unleaded at the pump cost 2,008 euros per liter (how much is that in US \$, well it’s about 2.51\$ more or less at today’s exchange rate).  So what does that mean?  Well, Americans pay gasoline per gallon, so the question is how many liters in a gallon?  Well, 1 liter equals 0.264172 gallons.

So let’s do it reverse so we can grasp it better.  So how many liters are 1 gallon? Easy, 3.78541 liters.  Easy, if you are using a converter online, otherwise it would have been quite a task for me, being that math is just NOT one of my favorite subjects.  Now that we’ve sorted the math-out, how much does a gallon of gas cost in the country of the so-called “Dolce Vita?”  It costs \$9.48 per gallon.

Can you imagine paying almost 10\$ per gallon of gas? Yet, Italians pay it and most Europeans pay very high prices in gas and no matter how high they go, no one seems to care, because I surely don’t see people in the streets protesting against a government that keeps on adding taxes after taxes on gas, as if gas tax was their own personal ATM machine.  Italian politicians have been warning everyone and  by everyone, we mean the base of the pyramid, the people.  Yep, gas now costs 10\$ a gallon. What do they care right? I mean, they get everything free from being MP, or for being ministers, etc.  The problem is in the hands of the every day individual who unfortunately has to drive to work and see more than half of his monthly salary go to paying for gas.

So why do Italians pay so much? Well let me explain how our complicated tax system works.  Just think that the final gas price is taxed at 56%. Gas is taxed on the quantity not on the value, thus not on the VAT.   So here’s a basic list which includes all of the taxes added on to our gas price, take a look and then tell me what you think.

• (0,00103 euro) for the financing of the Ethiopian war of 1935-1936;
• (0,00723 euro) for the financing of the Suez crisis of 1956;
• (0,00516 euro) for the financing of the Vajont disaster of 1963;
• (0,00516 euro) for the financing of the floods in Florence of 1966;
• (0,00516 euro) for the earthquake in Belice in 1968;
• (0,0511 euro) for the earthquake in Friuli in 1976;
• (0,0387 euro) for the earthquake in Irpinia in 1980;
• (0,106 euro) for the financing of the Lebanon war of 1983;
• (0,0114 euro) for the financing of the Bosnian mission of 1996;
• 0,02 euro for the renewal of the public transport workers’ contract of 2004.
• 0,005 euro for  the purchase of green buses in 2005;
• 0,0051 euro for the earthquake in Aquila in 2009.
• da 0,0071 a 0,0055 euro for the financing of culture in 2011;
• 0,04 euro for the financing of the emergency fund for immigration, due to the Libyan crisis in 2011;
• 0,0089 euro for the floods in Liguria and Tuscany in 2011;
• 0,082 euro for the decree “Save Italy” or “Salva Italia” in December 2011.
• 0,02 euro and for the Earthquake in Emilia in 2012.

So the total is of 0,41 euro cents (0,50 once you add VAT to it).  Do you think it’s over? Not at all.  From 1999, Italian Regions have the possibility of adding to all that an extra regional tax, so you may find that gas prices might be higher from region to region. To all of that you have to also add the cost of production, for a final total of 72,84 cent for gas.  On all of these you also have to add the 21% VAT which adds 15 more cents to the total.

Is that complicated for you? It sure is for me.  How can we be still paying for the Ethiopian war of 1935/36?  How can we be still be paying taxes on gasoline that go back 70 years? Why is the government still making us pay them?  Do we know how much the government is making off these taxes? Yes!  They are making about 20 million euros a month. Can you imagine that? Just in gas taxes!

So my long question to our dear politicians is this:  “Dear Sirs, do you foresee in the near and I mean very near future, the possibility of cutting your benefits, your salaries, your pensions, let’s say the “perks” of your position?  Do you think that when we see that our great Mr. Amato earns 1047 euros a day, while a disabled individual only gets 8,92 euros a day, it makes us feel happy and joyful for our political class? I believe that you should be setting an example for all of us and should eliminate all of the excess that you enjoy.  It really isn’t fair that the Italian people and all of those who live in Italy should be paying for all your perks, while we have to dish out 10\$ a gallon for gas.  So please, show us how close you are to the people and do away with all the extras, maybe we could afford to pay cheaper gas prices, maybe even be able to hire a few extra teachers, necessary for the future of our children.  Sooner or later, people will get tired of this, are you ready to deal with that?”

Its today’s’ news that Italian politicians will still be able to enter for free, while everyone else has to pay for it, to all soccer games in San Siro, Milan.  Are we for real? How can we hope to improve our economic situation when all the government does is tax? I’m still waiting for my unemployment check almost two months after filing it, my family and I are still waiting for food money.  Yet they have the privilege of bringing their families  to the games for free, just because.

When are Italians going to wake up and see the abuse of the system in all of this?  Do you know that President Obama earns less than the President of the autonomous province of Bolzano, Italy? The President earns about 400,000\$ plus benefits while our Mr. Durnwalder earns 320.496 euro about 403,000\$ (http://www.castelvetranoselinunte.it/stipendio-di-obama-inferiore-a-quello-di-deputati-siciliani/1991/).

So what I’m trying to say in all of this is, something is wrong, very, very wrong. I fear that Italy is not learning at all from its history, nor from its mistakes and sooner or later people just might get tired of all this.  It is true that Italians are not known for being a revolutionary people, but they do have the right to live with dignity.  Italy has 60% of the world’s cultural heritage, why is it then, that it is one of the countries risking bankruptcy together with Greece, Spain and Portugal?  Something has to change and unfortunately Mr. Monti doesn’t seem to be the answer either.  Starting from scratch could be an idea, why not do away with 80-year-old politicians and get some new blood in the system? Hey, maybe they could actually let the youth of Italy get involved in their own future. Nah, that would be to outrageous, don’t you think?  Better to have Mr. Berlusconi for the 6th time as Prime Minister, at least we’ll have the Bunga bunga parties! NO? Party on people, party on.