Mark Wignall | Why should any government care?
The core of every public policy put together by this and every government must include making more of its citizens happy. Happiness is, of course difficult to define. A man in hospital with terminal cancer may find a burst of happiness as his...
The core of every public policy put together by this and every government must include making more of its citizens happy.
Happiness is, of course difficult to define. A man in hospital with terminal cancer may find a burst of happiness as his favourite grandchild shows up and says, “Grandpa, when yu coming home.”
A rich man sleeping peacefully on silk sheets is disturbed by a flying cockroach at three in the morning. For just a few seconds he fool’s himself that the inconvenience has robbed him of a moment’s happiness.
A man sleeping in a gully where huge rats and flying cockroaches are his most trusted friends has probably convinced himself that happiness lives outside of this solar system. Or, not in his world.
The government, as I suggested will always been seen as the entity that stands in the way of making us happy.
It has to create jobs that generate more value than they consume. That is hard. It may suit a poor man living in an inner city lane to set up a crude vending stall at his gate than presenting him with a job that pays $20,000 per week.
The vending stall may net him $18,000 per week but he is not faced with transportation expenses for at least five days per week, box lunch at $600 per day and laundered clothing expenses.
The world has long changed from where it was noble to care for the person next door and in doing so probably present him with many moments of happiness.
ALLOWING TO KEEP INCOME
A basic understanding of moving the happiness meter in a poor man’s life is in allowing him to keep more of his mawga income in his pocket.
For the present Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration that is a tough job. But strangely doable – to a point. Without any major political debates among the JLP hierarchy it Andrew Holness has been transforming the JLP into an acute appreciation of the sort of welfare core that was once the foundational belief of the PNP especially in the 1970s under Michael Manley’s government.
The many bits and pieces of ‘care’ assistance in parts of the economy is not what one would expect of a political party that is supposed to be ‘conservative.’
Many economically disadvantaged sectors of the country have been given a boost, from transport operators to those households struggling to pay their light bills.
The major difference between an Andrew Holness of the JLP in 2022 engaging in the pragmatism of instant welfare outcomes and the quixotic policies of the democratic socialist Michael Manley of the PNP in the 1970s is that Michael Manley pressured the national pot even after the pot was overheated, cracked and leaking.
REALLY, DR OMAR DAVIES?
Recently Dr. Omar Davies, that horrible failure of a People’s National Party (PNP) finance minister from 1990s to 2007 surfaced from what I thought was his peaceful and, to many of the party faithful, his well deserved retirement of peace and comfort.
The academic/politician found a need to assist in politically boosting PNP President Mark Golding as if Omar can really raise the applause level of those listening to Golding.
As part of an economically disastrous PNP government of 1993 to 1997 and one in which the only ministry that was not officially acknowledged and instituted was the Ministry of Corruption Enhancement, Dr. Davis dared to accuse the Andrew Holness administration as a government where, according to him, he had never seen such a level of corruption.
Without enumerating the various ministries in the PNP administration from the very get-go of that government in 1989 (furniture scandal) to the light bulb scandal in the waning days of the PNP government, Davies’ assessment of his own party’s scandals was ... nothing.
But let us remember Dr. Davies for a monumental failure. Two Fridays ago a caller who called me on a radio programme, suggested that JLP Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke was wrong in saying that the 1990s financial meltdown heralded by Davies’ reckless monetary policies was the worst financial shock in this hemisphere.
In error I agreed with him that the Wall Street meltdown was worse.
Mr. Wayne Chen texted me to confirm that JLP Finance Minister was correct and give context to the Wall Street debacle.
“Nigel Clarke was absolutely correct about Jamaica’s financial sector crisis of the late 1990s. Cost 140 per cent of GDP. Biggest in history of Western Hemisphere. We’re still paying for it, mostly the poor and vulnerable.
“Crises that hit Argentina and Mexico in that era were not of the same scale.
“The global crisis of 2008 was not of Jamaica’s making and much smaller impact on our economy.”
TRUMP SHOULD HAVE MARCHED TO US CAPITOL
No, no I’m not crazy. As America perches dangerously midway between returning to a time of white supremacy and returning real democracy to the body politic it is trying to determine the extent to which ex President Donald Trump may have engaged in and led a mob in an insurrection on January 6, 2021.
But I so wish that Trump had actually led the violent mob in its physical raid of the capitol. Why do I say so? First, had he done do, I accept that the outcome would have been the greatest fissure in US politics since the Civil War.
But, I believe that it would have been put down forcibly and, unfortunately with loss of life, probably in the hundreds.
The thing is, even now there are still significant percentages of the US population especially those in the GOP who believe not only that Trump had nothing to do with it but that it never happened.
So what do we have now? Trump has another shot at the US Presidency and America is drafting the choreography of a dance of fascism.
For a country that worships idiocracy, maybe it needed to have seen the full train derailment instead of just the loud screech of the train heading dangerously around dead man’s curve.
Mark Wignall is a political and public affairs analyst. Send feedback to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.