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Swiss economist says Covid-19 ‘winners’ should pay more tax

Jan-Egbert Sturm is the head of the KOF Swiss Economic Institute, which is based at Swiss federal technology institute ETH Zürich. © Keystone / Ennio Leanza

Companies that netted their best-ever earnings during the coronavirus crisis should be subject to extra tax, finds one of Switzerland’s top economists.

Jan-Egbert Sturm, director of the KOF Swiss Economic Institute, made the suggestion in an interview with Sunday newspaper SonntagsBlick.

Sturm, who also heads the economic committee of the national Covid-19 task force, pointed out that certain businesses have done very well thanks to the pandemic – with some food retailers, online shops and pharmaceutical companies earning more than ever before.

“We could consider taxing the profits of the crisis winners higher, and using that money to support the losers of the crisis,” Sturm said, pointing out that the chance to profit during the pandemic has been a matter of luck, unlike the 2008 financial crisis, where politicians and bankers had made mistakes.

In contrast, Sturm noted that event planners as well as travel, catering and hotel companies got into financial difficulties through no fault of their own. “Therefore a redistribution would be justified in my opinion.”

Incidentally, “there is no way around letting certain businesses go bankrupt,” Sturm said, adding that while the state could not prevent job losses in some industries, it could help create new jobs elsewhere.

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