Cwanego Mikołaja

6795 PLN – that’s how much each working taxpayer will pay on average for the gifts given to Poles by the government in 2020. Gifts, i.e. new activities of the state that have the appearance of charity but are sooner or later paid for by the recipients themselves. The Warsaw Enterprise Institute, in an interactive project titled “Report of a Crafty Santa Claus. “The report calculates that in 2020 the government handed out at least 19 such gifts, each accompanied by a bill.

The report aims to increase the economic awareness of Poles, which is at an unsatisfactory level. A survey conducted in 2017 for the website ciekaweliczby.pl shows that only less than 40 percent of us realize that the source of funding for programs such as 500+ are taxes, which are also paid by them, and not, for example, by neighbors or supporters of other parties. We want to show that budget deficits and public debt are not just abstract economic concepts, but real problems emptying our wallets. In times of pandemic, this is especially important because Poland will see a record debt-to-GDP growth at the end of the year, and this will create pressure to raise taxes in the coming years. The government has no money of its own, and free lunches do not exist.

It is true that as many as 11 of the listed gifts are related to pandemic aid packages. We are not denying the need for them, but we are pointing out their costs, which cannot be ignored. Two of the 19 gifts, i.e. payment of the 13th pension and compensation for national media, are purely political in nature. The same could also be said, perhaps, of the minimum wage increase, which is unlikely to have benefited the sectors most affected by the crisis, while employing many low-skilled workers. Employers in the catering industry received stronger incentives for layoffs. By raising the minimum wage, the state Santa Claus is particularly cunning – here he forces others to cover the cost of these gifts (employers), himself raking in the resulting additional tributes (taxes are paid on the raised wages). As a matter of fact, only one non-sandemic gift is not controversial – pension allowances for the oppositionists from the communist period.

In compiling the report, we used media publications and government announcements available on the Internet. The calculations are estimates.