So we got slapped with hikes in so-called “sin tax” last Friday, more specifically tax on tobacco, alcohol and gas [although since when is driving your car a sin?]. Nicelanders scrambled to the liquor stores to stock up on booze before the price hike, only later to be informed that the increase won’t properly come into effect until suppliers order more from abroad [d’oh!]. Personally I don’t care about taxes on smokes and booze since I don’t smoke and don’t drink much, but like many others I was dismayed to see the price of gas go up by around 15 crowns per litre, to around ISK 180 [USD 1.47 / EUR 1.03 – and there are about two litres to a gallon].
Of course it was bound to happen – the government is going to have to come up with the funds somewhere to cover our massive debt, and this is probably the least-unpopular way of starting out on that long and treacherous journey [obviously this is just a drop in the bucket – there are still lots more price hikes and cutbacks to come.]
The problem with this – which a lot of people are wery wery upset about – is that it pushers up the consumer price index, which is the index used as a guideline for the increases in the principal on our mortgages and other loans. With this increase alone, a mortgage of ISK 20 million [USD 164,000 / EUR 115,000] goes up by ISK 200,000 [USD 1,600 / EUR 1,150], effective pretty much immediately. So once again, it’s the little people who have to shoulder the burden.
Some people – YT included – have been wondering why they couldn’t just remove this particular factor from the measurement of the price index, at least this time around, to avoid this nasty side effect. I have to confess I’m not well informed enough to know if it’s even possible – but it certainly would have made sense. Although abolishing indexation of mortgages altogether would make infinitely more sense.
Anyway, my favourite cartoonist summed it up brilliantly, as usual:
We’ve got the little people climbing the steep hill of the kreppa carrying [from top] UNEMPLOYMENT, DEBT and HOPELESSNESS, as old Jóhanna [PM] comes running up behind them with alcohol and petrol tax shouting: “Wait! Take this with you while you’re at it”
Harr harr. [Sniff.]
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE SALT RANCH
Friends: yet again I am forced to amend my glowing review of my recent fish and chips experience at American Style on Tryggvagata. EPI and I went there last night after a concert, both of us really hungry, and ordered the same thing as last time. As before, the place was spotless, the service great, but the food was … uh, pretty awful. The coating on the fish tasted like the chef had accidentally dropped a salt mine into it and decided to use it anyway. Seriously, it was so salty that it would have been completely inedible had we not been so famished. Consequently, instead of sending it back to the kitchen like we should have done, we scraped off as much of the coating as we could and imbibed it anyway. Sorely regretted it later, of course, as I was completely bloated and nauseous driving home, and on the inside felt kind of like Lot’s wife after she turned into a pillar of salt.
Incidentally, we complained on the way out, and received a blank “oh” from the pubescent girl working behind the counter. So be forewarned: proceed with caution when ordering the fish and chips at American Style. It can be hit or miss.
IT’S BEEN CLOUDY AND THREATENING TO RAIN
all day today. It’s not going to rain, though, and I know this because my neck is not killing me. Seriously, my neck is the best barometer for imminent rain that I know. Right now it is 8°C [46F], sunrise this morning was at 3.20 and sunset due for 11.33 this evening.