Thursday, August 09, 2007

Flight Of The Dodo

This is how I would refer to Gloria's grandiose dream of becoming a first world nation. Without adequate funding and a dwindling tax collection, the queen and her "crap" of a cabinet is trying to source money wherever they can. As the deficit grows, and forecasts say that it could very well reach the 100billion mark, they turn to the oldest trick in the book, increase taxes.

Instead of addressing the leaks in collection, they resorted to the RVAT which has crippled the limping Filipino. With a stronger peso propped up by a 26B dollar reserve, our exporters and OFWs are the worst hit even if they are our biggest contributors. Build up of reserves started during the Asian crisis. This is a big drain in our budget. Its a wrong perception if you ask me. Instead of boosting human development and infrastructure, these precious dollars sit idle which further depletes our budget and leads to a bigger deficit.

After raising the road-user's tax which eventually ended up in Gloria's campaign kitty, their next target is to raise the PUV receipt tax by a whopping 2,600%. I agree with this up to a certain point. PUV taxation has not been raised since 1978 and should have been addressed a long time ago. However, we have seen an increase in single operated PUVs through the years. The increase maybe easily affordable to big fleets but to the lowly entrepreneur, it could be very disastrous.

Ordinary employees have their taxes taken away every month. Unlike big business, their employers withhold their taxes automatically. Small businesses are mapped yearly and immediately pay their taxes. Local governments in cooperation with the BIR tax the entrepreneurs upon renewal of their licenses. Big businesses however, are allowed to recover losses through charges exacted on the helpless consumer while the SMEs have to ride out the inflation storm.

Paying taxes is the duty of every citizen. Taxes fund all social programs of the government. But are you willing to give that hard-earned money when you see overpriced projects? Would you pay when you see officials earn huge salaries and big bonuses? Would you pay when BIG errant companies are given amnesties and tax holidays?

Would you pay when you see officials send their children abroad for their schooling while you, the lowly taxpayer sends your kids to cheap schools because that's what your net earnings will allow? We see our officials go on trips abroad through our "sponsorships" while we can't even spend a weekend out of town. We see them drive SUVs while we have to ride the PUVs everyday to work. We see them wine and dine and have lavish parties while we content ourselves with fastfood junk. Instead of going after grafters, they negotiate and give back ill-gotten wealth.

So how will we be a first world nation in 20 years when the government continue to mismanage our funds? Our leaders conjure up lofty goals which our taxes cannot simply fund. So they borrow to their heart's content while we, the lowly taxpayer and our future generations are left to pay for their white elephants. They live in opulence while we toil daily in the quagmire of despair.

GMA said that the country will fly because of her economic programs. What she presents are short term solutions to nagging problems. Selling off public assets can cover the deficit, but what do we do after proceeds run out? She wants the us to sacrifice while they live the lifestyles of royalty. A country will not progress in a consumer-driven economy, we need human development and infrastructure. Immoral spending and mismanagement has to stop. Inequities in international trade will force businesses to close down. While all these are happening, focus is given to our leaders' image than uplifting the lives of its citizens.

So will the Philippines really fly under this administration? Yes it will, it will fly like the extinct Dodo.