Tuesday, February 13, 2007


In a country where tax evasion competes with soccer for the title of national pastime, how fitting that an interview in Clarín with a top economic official for the Province of Buenos Aires* should begin with this:

Q. What is the most ridiculous thing you're willing to do in order to collect more taxes?

A. I would say anything that's legal. These days in Argentina, where the tax-paying culture is not very well established,** you have to be ready to be as creative as possible.

Q. Would you become a supporter of [the soccer team] Talleres of Córdoba?

A. No, not that. I am willing to do anything but that. I will die being a devoted fan of [the soccer team] Belgrano. I would rather be killed than made to put on a Talleres shirt.

Q. And if Belgrano were driven to bankruptcy over a tax debt?

A. Everybody has to pay taxes. But that hypothesis is impossible -- it's something that's never going to happen. Belgrano is a great club.

Eventually, they got around to talking about taxes.

* The Province of Buenos Aires surrounds the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires.
** Ladies and gentlemen, no further nominations in the category of Understatement of the Year will be accepted; we have a winner.

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