February 2020 referendum

So today (Feb 9) another referendum round was held. I found it particularly interesting, as it was a battle of conservatives agains progressivists and of capitalists against socialists. I would be interested to hear your opinion and I would like to present mine.

Firstly, there was the “affordable housing” initiative, which fell through with only 43% in favor. I was against it, as I don’t see “more regulation” as a solution to high real estates prices. Interestingly, the initiative was mostly supported in big cities like Zurich, where over 60% were in favor.

Secondly, there was the “anti-discrimination” law, which was accepted by 63% of voters. I was surprised that we still need to protect LGBT people in Switzerland. Also I don’t know how exactly they want to implement this law and prove discrimination. In a truly libertarian tone I would say, if someone doesn’t want to hire you because you’re gay, then why should he be forced to?

Then we had even more interesting voting in canton Zurich.

  1. Taxi-Gesetz (YES) - a really stupid law which put the same requirement on all taxi drivers. It’s goal is to kill Uber etc. I find it very anti-free market and I’m sad that it went through.
  2. Rosengarten Tunnel (NO) - big tunnel in the middle of Zurich for 1.1 billion CHF. Interestingly, Zurich itself was the most against this project, more than the rest of the canton.
  3. Entlastunginitiative (NO) - a terrible project of Junge Sozialisten which remodelled the income tax curve, lowering the tax rate for people earning below 80’000 and massively increasing it for high income people. Luckily it didn’t go through, but I find it sad that such ideas even appear. High income people already pay much higher taxes, and increasing progression would only push them out of the canton.
  4. Mittelstandinitiative (NO) - a counter-proposal, which lowered the taxes for everybody. Surprisingly, even the rich towns were against it. I’m not sure why.

Here the detailed results from Zurich. Notice how only Kreis 7 & 8 (Hirslanden & Seefeld) were against the tax-steal proposal. This is where the nice houses are in Zurich.

And here, for comparison, the Gold Coast. Notice only 20% support for higher taxes, but somehow not much enthusiasm for lower taxes.


That increase would have been (effectively) less than 4 percentage points - in effect rather bringing it in line with the (non-tax heaven) neighboring cantons.

From a broader perpesctive, these taxes would still be among the lowest in Europe (and also the world, for that matter).

That’s probably due you being a high-earner.

Again, most developed countries in the world have higher marginal tax rates.

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Someone with a taxable income of 60’000 would pay 5’892, but someone with an income of 160’000 would pay 30’942? Are these pair amounts to you? What logic one has to follow to justify 5 times higher tax? Income tax is hard to calculate and administrate, ideally it should be 0%. It’s an unfair and immoral tax, which discourages from extra work. I wish you would see this…

Which proves what? I would not take example from European countries on how to run an economy.

4% increase in einfache steuer is 8+% in total tax (einfache steuer is a multiplier for both state and municipal taxes)

Yet it is already that way, the proposal would have made it just a bit worse

As long as marginal tax is below 100%, you still get to save more as you earn more. Imposing a marginal tax close to 100% (that AFAIK France once almost pulled off) would have killed any incentive to earn more and an exodus of the rich people to more cooperative countries. But fortunately it’s still below 50% here and among the lowest compared to the rest of western Europe.

That’s the essence of a progressive income tax system - a system that most countries and virtually all welfare states in the world have adopted.

The countries that haven’t, you probably wouldn’t want to live in them, since they don’t seem so attractive (with the exception of a few tiny tax havens and, possibly, the oil-exporting gulf states).

Well, someone’s got to foot the bill for governmental / public services. What would you suggest as an alternative?

Quality of live and personal safety in Europe are among the highest in the world, for starters.

Not necessarily, they could lower the multiplier.

According to the calculator, the “break-even” between their proposal and current law would be close to 100’000 CHF for singles (and 126’000 for married couples) in the city of Zurich:


At a median (gsalary of 7820 CHF (gross, so before deductions), I assume more than half of employees would pay less taxes.


Well the table above shows exactly how it is and how it would have been, im quoting the “would have been” numbers.

Well if it approaches anywhere 50%, its already ridiculous. I dont think income should be taxed. Income is the way for you to accumulate capital and get from poor to rich, and I think its important to have high mobility between wealth groups. Research shows that in socialist societies with high welfare, the mobility is very low, poor people are stuck in their poverty.

I think the state should look for money by taxing consumption (vat) and wealth (justified of fee for protecting your wealth).

Please refer to my previous post.

For now. Europe is consuming the wealth accumulated over centuries, is more and more indebted and it lost its competitiveness. I am very worried about Europe’s future. It could get marginalized by Asia.

People need to realize that wealth and welfare come from work and capital, and not from taxes and redistribution. It takes decades to see the effects, but they will be visible some day.

I think a 100% tax on inheritance would help for this purpose. Could it replace any other tax? :sweat_smile:

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Do you have data on that? The mobility between social classes is a lot higher in Nordic countries than in the US.

The main issue for the tax on wealth is how the value of illiquid assets is estimated (mansion, painting, ect) and how it can be paid. Maybe you own a house which is counted as your wealth, but you can’t sell part of the house to pay the wealth tax.

Well, I saw it in a video, so I had to look for some source. And true, mobility in Nordic countries is higher than in USA, but it’s interesting to see how mobility changes over decades within a single country.

You know, when old rich people say we need to tax high income more I find it really dishonest. These people already are rich, they already accumulated capital, so high income tax would not hurt them as much as the one aspiring to build their wealth.

Also, we should really differentiate between rich and high income people. To me, if someone earns 150’000 CHF and he spends it all, then he has a lavish lifestyle, he lives like a rich person. But if he has no savings, no capital, then as soon as he loses his source of income, he can’t afford it anymore. So he’s not rich. To me rich people are ones who have high wealth, not high income. It really annoys me when I see a headline like “the richest countries in the World” and then they post a ranking by average income or GDP per capita.

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You know, when old rich people say we need to tax high income more I find it really dishonest.

I’m not sure to whom you are referring, but most old rich people won’t vote Socialist, mostly Liberal or SVP. Moreover, if you are really rich, you will pay tax on your wealth and on income.

For sure, I agree wealth is not the same as Income.
Also. Someone who spends all his money will pay VAT.

Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg. Also Bernie Sanders is not exactly poor (net worth of $2.5 million).

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Yes, but in the USA the system is a lot different.
First, the income federal tax is capped at 37% (marginal rate), state tax and no wealth tax. There is a tax on capital gain, so as long you don’t sell you’re not taxed. However, they have a property tax.

In fact, the income tax rate in the USA is quite similar as in Switzerland, but they get little back (little subsidized healthcare, no free university, few public transport, bad infrastructure, higher rate of criminality, no help for poors, ect). A long as you have something back, most people are happy to pay taxes (-> see nordic countries).

I would assume that most billionnaires in CH use the Lump-sum tax https://www.cardis.ch/en/conseils/le-forfait-fiscal.
But if it’s not the case they would pay between 0.15% up to 1% on their wealth, income tax on their income (dividend),

Why is it “interesting” that the initiative was mainly supported in big cities, where rents tend to be higher and eating up much of the income of low-earners? I find it makes total sense.

Sometimes I am scared by the ultra-libertarian tone I find here. You really think employers should be able to discriminate based on sexual orientation? What about nationality? Religion? Race? Should we allow an employer to be able to not hire someone because (s)he is, e.g., Polish?


He shouldn’t be forced to, but he should pay a big fine.

Who wants to work in a homophobic environment anyway?


I see your point.

No need to be scared. I’m not sure you understood me correctly. Personally I do not have any of the negative biases you mentioned. I started this topic to get some opinions and to see where I may be wrong and why we need this or that. But I don’t feel comfortable with your aggressive tone.

@Giff @Cortana and what is your opinion on 50-50 gender parity in the parliament? Would you, as entrepreneurs, make sure that there are right proportions of men, women, young and old people, and all the minorities, just so that nobody accuses you of discrimination?

You know, in a former IT company during the quarterly meeting the manager said we don’t have enough women and we will make an effort to hire more women. OK, so what does this mean? If a woman and a man apply for this job, they will give it to the woman, even if the man is a bit more qualified?

Many things are not black and white and I find it sad that it’s such a taboo, that to even start a discussion on it may cause an outrage.

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The law isn’t about a gay-quota in companies, it’s about hate speech and other terrible things.

In your example: not chosing the best prospect would be discrimination. A women-quota in IT or economics is just as bad as a men-quota in health care and psychology.


Maybe then I didn’t fully understand the proposal. But that’s why I started this topic.