October 1, 2008
Arroyo and Bush share same economic philosophy
Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
BAYAN Secretary General
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and George W. Bush share the same economic philosophy. “In times of crisis, pass the burden to the people.”
It is therefore no surprise why Mrs. Arroyo is supportive of the $700 billion bailout plan of the Bush administration. The Bush proposal would make the American taxpayers pay for billions of bad debts that have been plaguing and clogging the US financial markets. The Bush regime is unjustly forcing the public to clean up the mess that was created by Wall Street itself.
Not long ago, Mrs. Arroyo employed the same economic philosophy when she pushed for an increase and expansion of coverage of the Value Added Tax. The argument then was that the country was facing a fiscal crisis and so taxes had to be raised. The burden of resolving the fiscal crisis was placed squarely on the consumers, many of whom come from the poor. This happened despite government’s own shortcomings with regards to tax collection and corruption.
Social justice and accountability are concepts lost on Bush and Arroyo. The Bush regime refuses to punish the finance speculators on Wall Street who were themselves responsible for the sub-prime mortgage crisis. The Bush regime has refused to acknowledge the failures of deregulation. It has opted for the easy way out which simply means passing the burden to the people.
The Arroyo regime on the other hand has refused to take responsibility for the failed economic policies that have resulted in a fiscal crisis, on top of massive poverty, unemployment and inflation. It sees that for the Philippines to waddle through the crisis, people have to shell out more in taxes.
The Arroyo regime claims that the Philippines is insulated from the crisis because of OFW remittances continue to shore up the country’s finances. However, this phenomenon has nothing to do with the claim of strong economic fundamentals. If anything, the country’s dependence on OFW’s to provide the much needed foreign exchange shows the domestic economy’s fundamental weakness.
The government admission of lower growth targets, slower export growth as well as vulnerabilities in foreign direct investments and speculative investments show that the Philippines is not totally shielded from the US financial meltdown.
Mrs. Arroyo has shown herself a supporter of the Bush bailout of bankrupt private banks. We ask her, if the Filipino people should file for bankruptcy, would she bail them out as well? ###