Columns

The making of 'Debt Wish' movie

Saturday, February 16, 2013    

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Dear Editor,

They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Therefore, Mr Audley Shaw and the Jamaica Labour Party(JLP) ought not to feel too bad. They starred in the original JDX, and now the People's National Party are making JDX 2.

I prefer to call it Debt Wish 2. They may change a word or two, but it doesn't make a difference. Well as they say, whats in a name? A rose would smell just as sweet even if you called it "tinking toe." In this melodrama, the prime minister brought the lubricant and the finance minister provided the shaft.

Remember it was Dr Phillips who once said that in Jamaica it is the man who plays by the rules who gets shafted. We needed the prime minister to make the medicine more palatable. We have had Rocky 1,2,3, etc, and Death Wish 1,2,3, etc. Why not Debt Wish 1, 2,3,4,5, etc.

Only it isn't funny. The Jamaica Debt Exchange, (JDX) will savage the savings of pensioners, primarily if it is executed in the original manner.

Only it isn't funny. The Jamaica Debt Exchange, (JDX) will savage the savings of pensioners, primarily if it is executed in the original manner.

The banks will:

(1) Increase transaction fees across the board with no distinction made for business conducted in-branch or through electronic channels.

(2) They will increase withdrawal fees.

(3) Increase in withdrawal from ATMs.

(4) Annual fees for credit card will go up. This is in order to offset the loss of other incomes.

At the end of the presentation by both the prime minister and the finance minister and they approached each other, I thought that they were about to swap saliva ... well actors and actresses do it even though they are married to other people. Thankfully they only held hands and rubbed cheeks. A job well done.

The arrogance of power! Well what else is to come? More surprises i guess! They didn't even have the honesty to acknowledge the originator of the path that they were about to embark on. The fundamental thing that needs to be addressed is how to grow the economy appreciably. Everyone agrees that we are at our taxable limit and if the government is broke, so are we.

There isn't anything more to squeeze out of us. If you corner any animal, no matter how tame it is, it will turn and defend itself. By looking at and listening to different sources we should be able to arrive at some sort of alternative plan. When Flat Bridge is blocked we are told to try Barry as an alternative route, not an alternate route. Therefore, the Economist tells us that of 65,000 registered businesses, only 3,000 are paying tax. The Chicago Tribune tells us that "The lessons of Jamaica is not that access to credit is bad. It's that irresponsible stewardship is bad."

There isn't anything more to squeeze out of us. If you corner any animal, no matter how tame it is, it will turn and defend itself. By looking at and listening to different sources we should be able to arrive at some sort of alternative plan. When Flat Bridge is blocked we are told to try Barry as an alternative route, not an alternate route. Therefore, the Economist tells us that of 65,000 registered businesses, only 3,000 are paying tax. The Chicago Tribune tells us that "The lessons of Jamaica is not that access to credit is bad. It's that irresponsible stewardship is bad."

Closer home, Dr Damien King, the head of the University of the West Indies (Mona) economics department, tells us that right at this moment Jamaica is producing almost as much as it is consuming. We are presently not living above our means and yes we are earning money from remittances, but that nothing is wrong with that. He says that the problem we have is that there is no surplus and no growth in the economy. There are large income inequalities and that we need to tax smarter. Dr Witter from the same department says that there must be an alternative plan and an endgame, as we cannot continue on this path indefinitely.

Your own columnist, Dennis Chung, explains that emphasising debt reduction via reduced fiscal expenditure will only cause social unrest and hardship. We will have to pursue fiscal stimulus.

The path that the Portia Simpson-Miller administration is following can only succeed if it doubles the pay of the security forces, ensuring that they are motivated and comfortable never mind the civil service. Because as night follows day, taxing the daylight out of an already overburdened populace can end up with one and only one end.

Mark Clarke

Siloah, St Elizabeth

mark_clarke9@yahoo.com

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