The tax man is an easy target to be cursed upon, but in Romania there are a whole new coven of people up in wands! Romanian witches are angry about having to pay taxes for the first time and are planning to cast spells on the president and government.
Romania has has changed it labor laws January 1, 2011 to officially recognize witchcraft legal as a profession, prompting many a self-described witch to threaten retaliation. Things have come a long way for the practice since the days that witches were burned at the stake for practicing the profession.
The government is actually trying to crack down on tax evasion, and witches are being joined by astrologists, fortune tellers (don't you think they could of warned everybody?) embalmers, valet parking and driving instructors as some of new groups that must now pay taxes.
It is not surprising that governments are looking for ways the increase revenue during the poor economy, and declaring certain jobs as legal professions can seem to be a good way to collect more money from those who have avoided taxes before, in a country that is in recession.
For months this tax measure had been debated, protested by witches and mocked by the media.
Superstitions are no laughing matter in Romania the land of the medieval ruler who inspired the "Dracula" tale and have been part of its culture for centuries.
A dozen Romanian witches plan to will hurl the poisonous mandrake plant (humm, a hint of Harry Potter?) into the Danube river to put a hex on government officials "so evil will befall them," said a witch named Alisia. She identified herself with one name, customary among Romania's witches.
"This law is foolish. What is there to tax, when we hardly earn anything?" she said by telephone interview to one reporter on Wednesday. "The lawmakers don't look at themselves, at how much they make, their tricks; they steal and they come to us asking us to put spells on their enemies."Others plan to retaliate using black pepper and yeast to cast a spell that will create discord in the government. Hopefully not cooking up trouble!
Mircea Geoana, who lost the presidential race to Basescu in 2009, performed poorly during a crucial debate, and his camp blamed attacks of negative energy (spells/curses ?) by their opponent's aides.
Geoana aide Viorel Hrebenciuc alleged there was a "violet flame"! President Traian Basescu and his aides continue to be seen wearing purple clothing on important days, because the color ostensibly makes the wearer superior and wards off evil. Special charms tied around the neck or waist with a red cloth or red rope is able, supposedly to ward off evil. Conspiracy during the campaign, saying Basescu and other aides dressed in purple on Thursdays to increase his chance of victory.
Such spiritualism has long been tolerated by the Orthodox Church in Romania, and the late Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, had their own personal witch.
Bratara, who is supposedly a queen witch, age 63, who was imprisoned in 1977 for witchcraft under Ceausescu's repressive regime, is furious about the new law. Bratara said she planned to cast a spell using a particularly effective concoction of cat poo and a dead dog (smelly for sure!), along with a chorus of witches.
"We do harm to those who harm us," she said. "They want to take the country out of this crisis using us? They should get us out of the crisis because they brought us into it."
"My curses always work!" she cackled in a smoky voice. As she sat next to her wood-burning stove, surrounded by potions, charms, holy water and ceramic pots.
Under the new law, like any self-employed person, they will pay 16 percent income tax and make contributions to health and pension programs.
Some argue the law will be hard to enforce, as the payments to witches and astrologers usually are made in cash and relatively small at 20 to 30 lei ($7-$10) per consultation.
Not every witch is threatening fire and brimstone.
"This law is very good," said Mihaela Minca. "It means that our magic gifts are recognized and I can open my own practice." Oh Joy!!
If witches are successful, will Romania change the new law? It would be hard to predict. Hopefully the lawmakers will not fall victim to the people who practice witchcraft. If other people who work have to pay taxes, then so should they (I wonder if prostitution is a legal profession in Romania?). Unless someone is working solely on a bartering system, that would be difficult to collect on. What do you think? Are you surprised that Romania made witchcraft legal as a profession? Should the U.S. follow suit in order to collect more taxes? If that is passed what is next? I could easily see churches and non-profits following behind. And why not add pan-handlers if you are going to try taxing someone who mostly works in cash with no paper work. I can just picture IRS agents running around trying to enforce and collect in these areas!
On the funnier side of things, this law (which ORIGINALLY included both 'witches' and 'fortune tellers' in Romania) was tossed out last September because government officials were AFRAID of witches and spells cast in retaliation: Romania Adds Witchcraft as Legal Official Job as Witch Threatens Government with Spell Wacktrap.com .
news sources collected from (other than noted above The WackTrap.com)
News Gather.com and The Associated Press
News Gather.com and The Associated Press