Witches, taxes and hexes...oh, my

Life's getting harder for Romanian witches. 

A month ago, Romanian authorities began taxing witches for their trade, changing their labor laws to officially recognize the centuries-old practice of witchcraft as a taxable trade. This ticked the witches off so much that they dumped poison mandrake into the Danube River to put a hex on lawmakers.

This apparently didn't work, because those same lawmakers are now working on a new bill that threatens to fine or imprison those witches whose predictions don't come true. 

This is laughable in the United States. However, in the land of Dracula, witchcraft is serious business. And their advice and fortune-telling is often sought out by people of all walks of life.

But the witches argue they shouldn't be taxed for the failure of their tools. 

"They can't condemn witches; they should condemn the cards," said Queen Witch Bratara Buzea. The witches say people often don't provide their real identities, dates of birth or other personal information, which skews the seer's predictions. 

Many say the proposed legislation is just a ruse to draw attention away from the country's other problems, which are many. In 2009, Romania needed a $27.31 billion bailout to pay salaries and pensions when its economy contracted more than 7 percent. Last year, the country's economy sank again. 

Then there's the political bickering. The centrist government is unpopular, the opposition is weak, and the press just loves conspiracy and personal attacks. It's safe to say Romania is a hot mess.

The new law would also require witches to have a permit, to provide their customers with receipts, and bar them from practicing near schools and churches.

What's next? A broom tax?

The Romanian government should stop worrying about crystal balls and focus on doing some real sleight of hand – changing their country into a place where everyone can live in peace. 

Published Tuesday, February 8, 2011 1:19 PM by bulldog
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