How far should redistribution go? Who should pay for it and how? What is the proper role of the State and what is better left to private initiative? Should insolvent banks be bailed-out? Is it better to tax individuals when they consume or as soon as they earn their income? Should we rely on taxation to bent individuals’ behaviour towards a cleaner, safer life (sin taxes and fat taxes)? Every one has—or should have—an opinion on those important questions.
In our modern democracies, those opinions are aggregated through various mechanisms so that each country in Europe ends up with its own budgetary and fiscal policies, and also… its own public debt and public deficit. This yearbook tells the story of what happened in 2011 in twenty European countries. (You can also look at past issues of the yearbook to learn more about Spain, Croatia and Greece, which are absent from this year’s edition.) Reading those reports gives a sense of how diverse are the answers provided to the above questions in different countries.