Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Government As Business

You know, if my boss runs his business the way the politicians govern, I'd better start looking for a new job, because bankruptcy's right around the corner. Think about this, you have the market cornered on certain items, things that people are paying top dollar for. Then a man comes by, he has a fancy accent with the matching clothes, and he tells you that you aren't smart enough to maximize the use of those assets, so you'd better sell them to him. It turns out he's right, because you're stupid enough to do it! Then, having done it, you punish your regular and loyal customers because they haven't got the money to pay your bills so you can continue your lifestyle without cutting costs.

Our country has squandered so much of her wealth, and flushed so much of her moneymaking talent and potential down the toilet, that now we're economic slaves, reduced to begging at the feet of our global masters. This slavery will continue for at least the next couple of generations, because no one talented or disciplined enough to find a way out of it has yet appeared. Okay, not fair, we have had the talent, but either it's so crooked it can't see straight, or no politician will allow the talent to do what's needed because that'll derail the gravy train. The Solution of the Day for everything is to tax those who can't fight and not to upset those who give a lee trouble to pay.

The last set of idiots sold all our assets for a pittance, and then bought two utilites back, then resold one, then...oh, who can keep up? What I do know is that all these transactions cost us taxpayers in ways we still haven't yet uncovered. These same idiots put serious national revenue-generating opportunities into private hands for a pittance (and no doubt a commission), while they mortgaged our eyeteeth just to finance the government's daily operating costs.

Now the current idiots-in-charge, rather than looking to seriously correct these misdeeds, or to find new revenue-generating opportunities, merely decide to take on the con artist in the fancy threads, publicize the never-ending (and hideously expensive) battle so that we'll be impressed with their diligence, and do absolutely nothing else. Okay, maybe BEL would disagree that they are doing nothing else, but really, what have they done to create new sources of revenue for the country? Sell land? No, not really. I mean, land is being sold, but the revenue isn't going to official coffers, you read me?

Let me put it all another way: Monaco and Las Vegas got rich off gambling; Switzerland and Cayman get their wealth from offshore banking (sorry, Mr Barack), Panama's flag registry has done well for the country's bottom-line, and so on. Where are we? Nope, we've given away all that. Favourable taxes on gaming, offshore and flag registration in private hands...what else can we give away? Oh yeah, the Boledo! Or is that gone already?

According to Channel 7 last night, the government has lowered the gaming tax of 15% because the casinos were only paying 4% anyway, so they doubled the rate to 8%. Whaaaa.....? Guys, that's just schupid! You reward these guys for not paying their full tax by lowering it to half of what it was because then you'll be penalizing them by making them pay double what they were paying because they said that's what they could afford? Nawww man, that can't be it!

I guess I'm not as smart as some, because I'd have thought that the simplest way to do things would've been merely to enforce the law that the previous idiots let the casinos break. After all, looking at the amount of Belizeans who've lost their homes and businesses because of gambling, I wouldn't think casinos are having trouble making ends meet. And if they are having problems, let me hereby advise the government that 'things thin' with me too, so starting with my next paycheck I'm advising GOB that I can only pay 4% of my income tax...of course, if they want to lower my rate to 8%, I'm willing to negotiate.


  1. I thought Govt. had reached rock bottom where stupidity was concerned, but I guess it is a bottomless pit. Being rewarded for not paying your bills...is a new one. We should all start doing this, businesses and individuals. What is wrong with these people. Did they undergo some kind of out of body transformation. Deceit seems to be the order of the day. The more you lie and steal, the better your life will be on earth. Forget payback time-it's heaven on earth.

  2. This article is full rhetoric. Well meaning rhetoric I am sure, but rhetoric none the less. My first question when we start the "blame the politicians" game is this - where do the politicians come from and who put them there? When we answer that question honestly then we invariably realize that the politians aren't the problem. The problem is with the people of Belize. That's where change has to happen. So rather than writing colourful, emotionally rich diatribes that rail against government. We really should be searching for ways to get our fellow Belizeans to change the way we think.

  3. Thanks Anon(2), and I totally agree with you, it is rhetoric. But with any luck it's rhetoric that makes one or two people think about what's wrong -I find too many of my people going through life without analyzing the meaning of what's happening around them.

    The indisputable fact is, it's the politicians who hold the power to fix the problems of the day. The question that indeed follows is, having put them there, how do we force them to do their job properly?

    (More than) a little railing up is in order, and so I don't apologize for my diatribe, but I eagerly welcome your suggestions as to 'ways to get our fellow Belizeans to change the way we think.' Maybe we can start a debate that leads to solid and meaningful action.

    As it is, we need first (as a people) to shake off our complacency and begin emphatically refusing to accept what we don't approve of, no matter who is in charge.

  4. Ok author. First, allow me to do a little tongue-in-cheek apology. Your response to my comments were not the typical defensive onslaught that is typical. That is a breath of fresh air which I welcome and I believe we can engage in a meaningful debate. Perhaps with others as well. My problem is that I have seen far too many railings that are mere exercises in rhetoric. I am pumped and ready to do something! With that aside, here are a couple thoughts:

    First of all, I dispute that it is an indisputable fact that it is the politicians who hold the power to fix the problems of the day. We are the ones who hold the ultimate power. The policies, decisions, and actions taken by our politicians are done so with our tacit approval, an approval given by our failure to hold them accountable. When we put the blame on politicians, we render ourselves powerless. In my opinion, to hold them accountable, the masses need to become enlightened and involved. So on to your question - how do we do that? I will profess up front that I don't have a definitive answer and would like to hear other suggestions. But here are my 2 cents on it:

    Education - begin by sewing the seeds of national pride in our educational system. Our educational system is skewed towards creating dependents. It does not plant any seeds of nationalism nor does it teach our children to think. Everyone comes out of school wanting to "find" a job that makes the most money. We need to change that.

    Social Activism - We need true activist organizations in this country that will help to bring issues to the fore front and keep the people informed in an unbiased way. COLA and ACB are fraught with political agendas and are infiltrated by the RED and BLUE. We need independent, unbiased social organizations that act as watch dogs. I like the organization the Mayas. While their focus is narrow (confined to their plight) it keeps the public informed. Imagine if we had 5-10 such organizations each focused on a particular issue? It would also give independent minded Belizeans an avenue to have a direct impact or voice other than on election day.

    The Masses - the every day roots people who don't read newspapers, don't listen to news (except to hear weh numba play), and insist on seeing Minista because water bill and light bill due - those are the ones hardest to reach. Those are also the ones who need to be touched the most. My mind is blank as how to reach them.

    Your thoughts?

  5. I wish I had the answers. If I did I would share them here and shout them from the treetops or rooftops or wherever. But again I find we're more in agreement than not, you and I. My contention that the politicians hold all the power is referring to legislative power, the kind that also somehow makes them think they are demigods.

    The problem is, we do forget that we hold the ULTIMATE power, the power to tell them what we approve and disapprove of and what we expect of them. We are their bosses; they are our employees. We should be demanding good performance every step of the way.

    The other problem is, we suffer from a national, cultural lack of self-confidence -and you're right, that comes partly from an educational system that belittles what's best about us and makes us think we're not worthy of good leadership. Ah, that's the result at least.

    How do you tell a 'hungry-belly' man that subservience for the sake of a 'hands-out' is actually holding him down? How do you convince a poor man that the drug dealers driving the fancy SUVs and wearing the bling-bling are bad people? How do you change the mindset that kicks heroes in the shins and hero-worships the bad guys?

    We do it one at a time until we can find a better way.

    For me, this blog is, as I've said, intended to provoke a little thought and maybe motivate one or two small positive actions. A blog like this can always use more writers, and there's always room for more blogs, or other media. It doesn't reach the grassroots audience you refer to, but maybe someone reading it says something sometime to some part of that group. On that basis, perhaps you'd like to come on board and share your own thoughts? If so, please email belizebeliever@gmail.com to get the wider discussion started. Maybe it's a small step to finding the answers we're looking for.