Letters to the Editor

Voodoo economics 101

Thursday, March 14, 2019

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Dear Editor,

So the captains of business, particularly small business, are cheering the latest budget. Indeed. Santa Claus came early for them this year. But the labour unions are not. Helene Davis-Whyte, head of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions, got it right when she said her members expected more benefits for public sector workers.

Even the Opposition People's National Party (PNP), which has been wrong on just about every public policy issue since losing the 2016 election, got something right this time. Spokesman Mark Golding said there's really nothing there for the typical man in the street.

The Andrew Holness-led Administration has done a good job on many fronts since taking office. But, as with the proposed national identification system (NIDS), the Government has got this one wrong — if indeed it's serious about significant economic growth.

The $14-billion tax giveback will indeed be good for small business and the real estate industry. But we are asked to believe that, simply by the law of gravity and the charity of small business owners, the benefits will trickle down, jobs will be created, and businesses will expand in the face of weak consumer demand.

We've seen that movie in many economies before. It's just another lecture in Voodoo economics 101 (aka Trumpononics). Didn't know they still teach this at Oxford.

If a finance minister really has $14 billion to give away and wants to stimulate economic growth, what better way than to put it into the pockets of police officers, teachers, nurses, civil servants, and Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) recipients? They need “stuff”. They will spend the tax break on “stuff”. Just find creative ways this time — unlike the $1.5-million tax break — to make sure the “stuff'' they spend it on is Jamaican, not foreign.

Errol W A Townshend

Ontario, Canada


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