Dr. Phillips Thinks Jamaicans Are Idiots

I watched the minister of Finance delivering his speech in the budget debate in the house on Thursday March 12, and I was left wondering where the growth strategy is?

What he presented without failing is an election budget. It rang right throughout his speech. From the raising of the threshold for PAYE earners, to the raising of the amount of persons not paying GCT on electricity, it was all about sweetening the deal to win votes from civil servants especially.

In the instance where he raised the income tax threshold for PAYE persons, he shouted rather glibly that he was giving back 35,000 and change to PAYE earners per year. That sounds like a very impressive figure but we must remember this is per year and not per month. When you divide 35000 by 12 the figure that you will get is $2,917 $ rounded to the nearest tenth. That’s rubbish in the context of our present economic conditions where everything is on the rise. That money can’t pay the light bill of a normal home, or go into a supermarket and buy anything worth mentioning.

Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips via jamaica-gleaner.com
Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips via jamaica-gleaner.com

But this is the deceptive way the PNP deals with Jamaicans because they know many Jamaicans will not take the time to divide that figure properly. Once they hear the big figure that is what will record in their brains. That sort of deception has contributed handsomely to the continued destruction of this country. Phillips knows if he says it he will be giving back to PAYE earners only $2917 monthly people will laugh him to scorn and that won’t buy votes for the PNP.

  

But the deception doesn’t stop there. While making mention of revenue measures, he said the government will be leveling a $7 tax on gas at PETROJAM. Now when he levels that tax on PETROJAM, what will happen is that while oil prices continue to decrease on the world market we in Jamaica will still be paying more than we should at pumps. That then will translate to an increase by PETROJAM in the price at which they sell to the marketing companies of at least $7. Marketing companies may then add another $10 to the rate they sell to the dealers who may add another 15$ at the pumps.

So the consumer at the end of the day could cumulatively pay 32$ more at the pump. The producers of goods and services will also be hit with that increase and will pass it on through the pricing of the goods and services they sell us. We end up paying more.

It doesn’t stop there, JPS will get in on the act too as they will pass on the increased cost in lights bills to its customers. So while Phillips is saying fewer Jamaicans will pay tax on electricity, they will still be paying more than usual for the amount of electricity they consume. So at the end of the day the customers are no better off. 

Dr. Philips didn’t lay out a path for growth which to me was the most distressing. He continued to rehash the old promises and alleged achievements. There is no real indication that other than compressing capital spending, the government knows what it is doing. The problem with Jamaica is plain and simple: no growth. If the government is serious about accomplishments then that is where its focus must and should be.

Passing IMF tests will not grow the economy as we have seen here and in Greece, but contract it and increase sufferation on the poor. The Minister boasted in parliament about achieving a balanced budget and how they have almost attained that. Interestingly, what he didn’t tell us is how the Government has reached that. The balanced budget has not been reached because of greater revenue collection brought on by an upturn in economic activities, but by a compression in capital expenditure. Simply put, the GOJ has arrived at that point because it has cut spending on infrastructure development, (that’s why the roads cannot be fixed), cut spending on healthcare in such a way that hospitals have run out of pain and asthma medication, cut spending on education so much so that pit latrines cannot be replaced by flush toilets in basic schools.

Is that something that the Finance Minister should be jumping up and down over? I think not. He should be ashamed that he can only reach a balanced budget by increasing the sufferings on the backs of already suffering Jamaicans. While a balanced budget is a worthy goal to be achieved, we all must understand that the idea behind a balanced budget is to eventually gain a surplus. While that must be what he is after, we must also understand that the idea behind a budget surplus is to have more resources to invest in this country.

I will posit that even when we have a budget surplus we will not see any uptake in government spending, because if they do that we will immediately head back to having a budget deficit-simply because the economy is not producing enough for the government to collect enough revenue to continue with a budget surplus while spending more. Now the frightening thing about that is, if the economy doesn’t pick up in the next ten years we will continue to see government spending being compressed and more of the country’s infrastructure being neglected. And an increase in the sufferings of normal Jamaicans. It is useless to depend on miracles from God when you’re not serving him. Don’t expect miracles Mr. Philips, go do your work. Quoting scriptures won’t get you any favors from GOD! Why the devil quote scripture too.

  

Fabian Lewis – Check out his Blog HERE

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Patricia Cain
7 years ago

I do not think the government think Jamaicans are idiots, I think the government is run by a lot of idiots. I always assume that to be a politician you need to be intelligent and educated to a high standard to be able to make judgements regarding the expenditure and

Paul Tomlinson
7 years ago

Mr. Lewis. You must remember you are dealing with a SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT, one duly elected by the minority, and left to do what it wants to do by the failure of the others to vote. The government is being faithful to tneir constituents who really do not understand figures. They understand key words like NO TAX, GIVE BACK, NO PAY, NO RAISE. The electorate in this country is as divided ss the country. The rich don’t care as they can manuver the taxes, the lower class has nothnig to fear as the goernment is on their side and they pay… Read more »

John Daley
7 years ago

The politicians on both party has a congregation of zealous and suicidal followers. When i look at most of you all comment i see brainwashed attempt been made to recruit innocent individuals who is suffering because of both party when ever they are or were in power. Politics is really infectious and the members are on a recruitment drive. Its time for us to move away from these 2 parties of power hungry politicians and start fending for our selves. By the way i agree with some of the views of the author of these views, but i suspect a… Read more »

English Blonde British

REMEOVE HIM FROM CIVIL OFFICE

English Blonde British

Bye dr Phillips

Garfield Gordon
7 years ago

thats y them light the fire a riverton to distract us from ja problem u promise growth

Junior Williams
7 years ago

Government stupidly thinks jamaican are too stupid to confront their wrongs. The government has jamaica in chains and will end up selling jamaica to the IMF. The government has lost the plot. The government’s role has been reduced to robber and thief overnight. Knowing more than 1.5 millions are below the poverty line. He offers worse economic medecine to the nation. 45 years of stupid policy not working for re good of the nation. Jamaica is heading for self destruction and Haiti an style Revolution. Wake up my people the time has come to rescue jamaica from economic slavery at… Read more »

Shevon Hedghill
7 years ago

We need a change of government. Too much of one thing is good for nothing.

Da Collins
7 years ago

It’s lovely to hear people’s opinions on issues but the mind can play tricks. If you decipher things a certain way then it will influence your talking points. In no way I think the PNP feels Jamaicans are idiots, government have to do what they have to do. They give and take. We as consumers have a right to protest in many ways. We can voice our disgust and boycott or even conserve. In that way we fight back and don’t give them what they want. We watch and blame Government too much, as I said, they have to do… Read more »

Da Collins
7 years ago

Lets be realistic for a little bit. The PNP is blundering, they messing up on lots of issues, but they doing good things in many areas that people turn a blind eye to. I know many readers will want to ask me what have the PNP done, which goes to show they not paying attention to the good things. Now, as I started, the PNP is blundering and is doing messy things but what is our alternative, the JLP ? OMG, they cant even run their own party, how they gonna run the country. We have no replacement, the PNP… Read more »

Garfield Gordon
7 years ago

dumb dumb perter who ever the mad man on the srteet kno this if u lower taxes an corperate ones u get higher growth where u come from if it wasnt imf and leave all dicision to u f.. up’s where would we be under the earth or eating each other

Shawn Jarrett
7 years ago

This is how much they love the poor by creating more if us. This government is only interested in passing IMF tests. They have no growth strategies, as they have no plans for the future only here and now. So it a case of blind leading the blind. Sorry for us hardworking Jamaicans. We have to leave our countries to achieve better. So sad