Following up on last month’s demands that Pakistan agree to yet another massive tax increase on “wealthy landowners,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stepped the issue up even more, threatening to withdraw all humanitarian aid from the nation unless they comply.
Today it was even worse, as Clinton pressured the European Union to do the same. Between them, the US and EU have contributed more than half of the $1.5 billion in humanitarian aid for this year’s disastrous floods.
“It is unacceptable,” according to Secretary Clinton, “for those with means in Pakistan not to be doing their fair share to help their own people.” While rich Pakistanis have contributed to relief efforts, they have balked at donating to the official government aid program, citing corruption.
The floods killed thousands and left roughly a fifth of the nation under water, doing major damage to Pakistan at a time when a decade of US-led war along its border had already brought it to the brink of collapse. One would think this would be a poor time to raise taxes, but the Obama Administration has repeatedly demanded Pakistan do so, and despite Pakistan already issuing a number of tax increases over the past year, it seems it isn’t enough.