Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Nation's Contempt for the Poor Rears its Ugly Head, Again


Populism rears its ugly head

Voters must learn to distinguish between principled policies and empty promises of handouts

The Nation pontificates:

The problem is that it is quite difficult for many people - particularly those who are not well educated or who belong to the lower rungs of the socio-economic groups - to tell the difference between good and bad policies touted by political parties in the run-up to the election. This is not only because the country's 75-year-old democracy has been too often punctured by periods of authoritarian rule, but also because the quality of public debate in this country has remained poor. People invariably fail to ask really important questions of political parties, such as where they are going to find the money to finance the populist policies they promise to implement if and when they achieve political power and form a government.

In other words, poor people are too stupid to understand policies that help them and The Nation's editorial staff are the only people in Thailand who know the difference between a "good government program" that helps society and an "evil populist program" thats sole intent is to bribe voters.

It is the media's responsibility to investigate and report on political party agendas and government policies.

When has The Nation ever done a cost benefit analysis of any populist program?

The answer is never.

Has The Nation ever done any significant polling or an investigation regarding why Thais like this program or that program?

The answer is never.

The Nation's pontificates:

To carry out populist policies, including village funds, low-cost housing projects, debt moratorium for farmers and People's Bank credit programmes, the Thaksin government had to bend rules that were made to ensure sound governance and good economic stewardship. This allowed corruption to happen.

Uh, has The Nation ever provided evidence to back up this accusation? The answer is never.

The Nation's pontificating continues:

Bad populist policies are implemented with little regard to the facts of unprincipled and wasteful use of the country's resources. The unthinking spending of taxpayer's money and the incurring of excessive public debts by the government must somehow be paid for by future generations of taxpayers. In other words, the entitlements the Thaksin government heaped on the current generation of taxpayers will pose an unacceptable level of risk to Thailand's financial standing, if not also the economic destiny of our children.

Again, there is absolutely no evidence that Thaksin's spending bankrupted the country or committed Thailand to decades of deficit spending.

The Surayud government, on the other hand, has increased the defense budget to fight phantom foreign enemies, funded multi-million baht propaganda campaigns to destroy its political enemies, and has increased deficit spending in the name of sufficiency economics. Plus the Surayud government has spent untold millions of baht on luxury junkets for generals like General Saprang's phony fact funding trip to Europe, spent millions sending prosecutors to Britain to extradite Thaksin and has spent millions on wasteful celebrations for the King's birthday.

The Nation lies:

The financial mess left behind by the Thaksin government, which is now being cleaned up by the interim Surayud government, will pose a considerable burden to the future government.

Actually, the economic mess that Surayud is leaving behind is much worse in terms of growth, corruption indicators, deficit spending, inflation than what incurred under Thaksin. I am the first to admit that a government can't be responsible for everything in a capitalist economy, but for The Nation to say that Surayud has improved the situation when the economic indicators show otherwise is disgraceful.

More Nation idiocy here:

That's why it is disturbing to see a new crop of populist policies being promoted by so many political parties whose main concern is to persuade gullible people to vote for them and to put them in power. Any political awareness campaign to be launched by the Election Commission and the Surayud government between now and the election must include teaching people how not to be distracted by grand-sounding populist policies and how to ask the right questions. These must include where the political parties propose to find the money to finance their policies and how to make sure those policies will continue to benefit the public in the long run?

These editors at The Nation are a a disgrace to the journalism profession. Read the paragraph carefully. The Nation actually believes that the government should play the role that the press is supposed to play in a democracy. No Suthichai, it isn't a military appointed government's role to tell people how to behave politically. No Suthichai, it isn't a military appointed government's role to dictate to people how to make electoral decisions just because you and your sycophants don't like the results of elections in the past.

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