Witchcraft Boom Follows Dutch Tax Subsidy

October 11, 2005

As a follow-up to our earlier post on tax subsidies for Dutch witches, Bloomberg reports that the witchcraft school that won the comical tax preference from Dutch authorities has since witnessed a tax-subsidized boom in enrollment:

Margarita Rongen, who teaches spells and potions to witches in the Dutch village of Appelscha, says a court ruling that gave her trainees a tax break brought in hundreds of potential new recruits.

Rongen, 56, who offers the Netherlands’ only program that certifies witches, is getting applications from as far off as Australia and Dubai, she said. The court, in the Dutch town of Leeuwaarden, ruled on Sept. 26 that the 1,830-euro ($2,208) cost of her course is tax deductible.

“Many people who have reached a dead end come to me because they want to make a change in their life,” said Rongen, who’s been a witch for 37 years. “Now students know they will get their money back.”

The court decision, which recognizes her training as a legitimate way of making money, prompted Rongen to sell weekend tutoring and English-language compact discs. She’s employed her son and his girlfriend, also a witch, to help. (Full piece here).

A hilarious example of how tax incentives distort economic activity, reduce overall wealth, and yet still appear to “create” jobs—creating vested economic interests who will fight for their preservation. This case will undoubtedly provide textbook authors with sidebar material for years to come.

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