Renee Meriste, the president of the Estonian Society of Los Angeles, says Estonia should have financially supported its residents in the coronavirus crisis, just like the United States did.
In an interview given to the Estonian magazine, Kroonika, Meriste said that, for example, American citizens received child support of $500 per kid, regardless of the parents’ income. “It is a pity that the Estonian government has not indicated it cares about you as an individual,” Meriste said. “Entertainers were left unemployed everywhere. I have many friends here in the art community and when the news arrived that the US government supports people with $1,200 each, you could even sense how peoples’ positive mood went up.”
Standing up for employees
Meriste explained that currently, the support is a one-time payment for each person. For example, anyone who earned less than $75,000 a year, will receive $1,200 in their bank account, and then the proportions of the amount will change depending on their income.
“Estonia has had an online income tax system for decades and in this situation, the country would have had so many advantages in supporting its people. In any crisis, the country should look to the future, not the past,” Meriste noted.
“Helping your citizens can change a lot in peoples’ attitude in future – perhaps the current children will then decide to vote in elections, for example. People would feel the state cares about them – and people pay taxes because of it, not doing their best not to pay them.”
Meriste told Estonian World that in a crisis, unfortunately the laws of nature apply; the owners and managers of the companies – whether small or big – are only for themselves. “The money given to companies is for their interests first, only then the employees. One should not forget the ordinary people.”
Estonian native Renee Meriste has lived in Los Angeles for the last 14 years. Today, he is guiding entertainment companies and lecturing on the industry in the US and Europe. He is the president of the Estonian Society of Los Angeles, the president of the Estonian American Business Alliance and a member of the Estonian American National Council.
Cover: Renee Meriste.