ITALY: The Cuckold

For years, like temperamental lovers, Italy's government and Italy's taxpayers have systematically betrayed each other. The taxpayers seldom, if ever, declared more than a third of their true income for tax purposes. The government automatically taxed them for three times whatever they declared. The relationship was piquant and passionate, and altogether too unsettling for Finance Minister Ezio Vanoni.

Last year, urged on by hard-headed ECA advisors from the U.S., Vanoni ordained a new deal. It provided simply that everyone concerned trust each other and tell the truth. Two months ago, their past...

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