ICRT commentary: Tax and Spend


#1

From time to time people will ask me for transcripts of my ICRT commentaries. So towards that end here is the one that aired last Monday.
Take care,
Brian

Tax and spend: This is Perspective with Brian Kennedy
(aired Dec. 9, 2002)
The government has done nothing to improve Taiwan


#2

Fair comment, Brian. Hiding debt is dangerous - it increases uncertainty about gov finances and may raise interest rates. Its not a long term solution but, in its favour, it may support demand in the short term and Taiwan’s infrastructure IS poor. Nevertheless, monetary policy should be used first - CBoC not aggressive enough.


#3

I have two problems with the following proposals

Pork Barrel projects- Look at what it did to Japan- Roads to no where, enviromental destruction, and enlarged beuracracy. Hell, why didn’t Taiwan try this earlier, this seems like their thing. This reminds me of the Rigas clan skimming cash off of their public corporation, Aldephia Communications.

Hiding Debt- Has everyone conveniently forgotton about Enron? Let me get this straight or put it in another light. Your Wife(Taiwan Gov’t) runs up a bunch of home repairs on your house. You, the husband(Taiwan taxpayers), come to find out it was on your credit cards, that she kept hidden from you. You only find this out when you get turned down for a very important loan many months/years after she spent the money.

I might be wrong on these adding infrastructure is important and can add value, but it needs to be the right kind of infrastructure. Does Taiwan need more roads? How about clearing up the ability to do business. Why does Taizhong have over an estimated 1000 illegal businesses? Can none of these become legitamite?

I see a lot of whining about closing businesses and lost jobs, but I see very little in the way of making it easier to start a business and adding transparency to the gov’t. How much easier is it to start a business in The US, Canada or Australia than it is in Taiwan? Why is that? Why does it need to be this way? I think this is the question that Taiwan’s gov’t needs to answer before going hog wild on the credit card.

CYA
Okami


#4

[quote=“Okami”]How about clearing up the ability to do business. Why does Taizhong have over an estimated 1000 illegal businesses? Can none of these become legitamite?[/quote] Crucial points. I agree 100%. Local businessmen complain that Taiwan is too inflexible, that everything is “illegal unless the law specifically allows it.”


#5

Hey Brian, please do not get too offended, but I seem to vaguely remember you have a bias against the DPP government in favor of the KMT? Forgive me if I am wrong and you are the one journalist in the world that is not biased at all? I think I got this impression from your past commentaries.

I suppose I wanted to know if your criticism is sincere or founded in bias against the DPP? Any suggestions on what the DPP government can do to help improve the economy?

Finally, I must admit myself that I am biased in favor of the pan-green alliance, but do not favor all of their policies or ideas.


#6

As to my personal taiwanese politics, I am not a big fan of any of the parties. I had big hopes for the DPP, until I realized they were just like the KMT without the money. If I had been an eligible voter last time, I would have voted for Chen Shui bian. But seeing his and his administration’s “performance” (such as it is) I would not vote for him ever again.

As to who I would vote for…is “none of the above” an available choice?

I am biased. I am biased in favor of a government that:
tells the truth
faces the nation’s problems
comes up with rational solutions
places the nation’s welfare above party politics

Now I am old enough (45) to realize no government on earth, past, present or probably future is going to meet those criteria. So as a practical solution I would choose the party that came closest to meeting let us say 2 out of the four.

Sadly in Taiwan none of the parties come even close.

I am biased against them all! For that reason.

Okay then, time to get back to work.

take care,
Brian


#7

Mr. Kennedy,

Are you referring to the Premier’s proposal to go ahead with building the new highway between Suao and Hualien? I don’t recall the estimated price-tag as being quite so high. And isn’t it supposed to be constructed by the private sector on a BOT basis, with no need for any significant government funding? What is the other of the so-called “pork-barrel” projects? Let’s have a few more details, or a couple of links, to consider before we reach any judgment on the matter.


#8

[quote=“brianlkennedy”]As to my personal taiwanese politics, I am not a big fan of any of the parties. I had big hopes for the DPP, until I realized they were just like the KMT without the money. If I had been an eligible voter last time, I would have voted for Chen Shui bian. But seeing his and his administration’s “performance” (such as it is) I would not vote for him ever again.

As to who I would vote for…is “none of the above” an available choice?

I am biased. I am biased in favor of a government that:
tells the truth
faces the nation’s problems
comes up with rational solutions
places the nation’s welfare above party politics

Now I am old enough (45) to realize no government on earth, past, present or probably future is going to meet those criteria. So as a practical solution I would choose the party that came closest to meeting let us say 2 out of the four.

Sadly in Taiwan none of the parties come even close.

I am biased against them all! For that reason.

Okay then, time to get back to work.

take care,
Brian[/quote]

I largely agree with all of these sentiments. I believe there are many of us who share very similar views.