Tue | Oct 17, 2017

You should not make promises you can’t keep

Published:Thursday | April 6, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

In an article titled 'Greek lessons for Andrew Holness', published in The Sunday Gleaner of March 13, 2016, shortly after the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) had won the general election in February 2016, Professor Carolyn Cooper made some interesting observations after highlighting some striking parallels from promises made by the Sypriza Party of Greece in January 2015 and the JLP in its election campaign. In short, both parties made the following promises: they would take their respective nation out of the wilderness of poverty into the promised land of prosperity.

Professor Cooper informs us that Jens Weidmann from the German Bundesbank warned that the new Greek government (which had recently taken office) should "not make promises it cannot keep and the country cannot afford". In order to keep up with the promises made earlier, Professor Cooper said further that the Sypriza Party was forced "to increase taxes; [make] cuts to social services and reform ... the pension system. This meant raising the retirement age and slashing pensions. The ... energy market had to be liberalised." To make a long story short, the prophe-tess Cooper said, "The end result: no prosperity, pure poverty."

 

Questions

 

Now, here comes the brilliant Imani Duncan-Price one year later with the all-important question for the current administration: "Did they do a tax-incidence study?" What is a tax-incidence study? It "is the analysis of the effect of a particular tax on the distribution of economic welfare across different group".

Sophia Frazer-Binns (The Sunday Gleaner, April 2, 2017) aptly quotes Winston Churchill as saying, " ... For a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle." And so, Professor Cooper chides, "Will the JLP confess that its tax reduction was nothing but a con job to secure votes?"

Colin Johnson