Posted by: nastylittletruths | March 26, 2011

An Economic Lesson

While I only love the science of economics (it has so much to teach) and cannot profess to even understand a fraction of what an MSc. like Dookeran will know (his Doctorate is honorary), I think he needs to remember that he’s really a politician first… I am reminded of that stinging criticism by the PNM, to those opposed to it, is that all the other side knew about politics is wanting to remove the PNM from office and that is as far as their plan goes.

Winston, in his full-page ad (Report on the Nation’s Business – Moving Forward Prudently By Stabilizing the Economy and Encouraging Growth) has dedicated one line to my predicament of outstanding payments from the GORTT, and yet without any hint of a pending solution. After two fluff paragraphs about global downturn, fiscal challenges, stability, momentum, credit rating and sustainable responses, he said that in this context he “has approached the resolution of the CLICO crisis and the outstanding payments to contractors….”

And of course he wrapped up the rest of it explaining why he can’t afford to pay more than 5%, but he has “begun to see some signs of growing confidence in the economic health of our nation”. I would love to see where that confidence is disregarding Cabinet meetings and Jack Warner’s utterances. I would also love to see where the confidence is disregarding the ‘connected’ contractors who are getting work without so much as a tender process. I would also love to see where the confidence is disregarding every single recipient of political patronage that this administration has engaged while payments to contractors like myself, who had the audacity to actually work while the PNM was in power, remain in limbo. I always knew that the GORTT is the GORTT no matter which party is in power, but it seems as if I was mistaken.

I’ll give Winston a political lesson first before I give him the economic… Sometimes you have to make the ‘wrong’ choice because it’s better in the long run (remember that economic term?). The PM by appointing you as Minister of Finance has effectively made you unelectable because you are now the lightening rod for all the negative fallout generated by the ‘prudent’ decisions you are making. (There used to be a US joke that the Republicans spend money as if there was no tomorrow, rip to shreds the economy and then leave it for a term or two for the Democrats to fix. Sounds familiar?)

As a party in government you also have to be cognizant that governing is prioritising and every decision made alienates some portion of the electorate. In effect you use up your political capital bit by bit with every decision and it is possible to use it all up by the end of one term. And what then becomes of all the ‘prudent’ decisions and ‘stability’ then? All to naught because the PNM will be back in power and doing it their way again. A colossal waste of time and we are no better off for it either way…

But for the economics lesson I get the impression that you are a more a Friedman guy than a Keynesian (you were a Central Bank Governor and your responsibility was monetary policy after all). Plus, you are not really making any strategic interventions into the economy to keep it ticking – unless you think that giving $33m to the CLICO gamblers is one such intervention? So even though you may not be a fan of Keynes, here’s something he wrote that should you should make note of:

The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is run by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences are usually slaves of some defunct economist… It is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good and evil“.

We are contractors with vested interest in the life of our business and the quality of our employees’ lives. We are not about ‘ideas’ as promoted by defunct economists and shameless politicians… We work, we expect to get pay and all you are obsessed with is thinking that we are bandits, crooks and thieves. Go ahead… We will ride this out just as how we rode out Panday in 1995 – 2001 when you had to be either Brian, Steve or Ish to get a ‘wuk’. We’ll see your back when you leave for good in 2015… End of lesson.

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