Opinion: It’s the economy stupid! And right now the economy is being run by the stupid

Last week, the government said that it would be unable to pay out pensions to the elderly and the disabled because the Department of Local Administration had run out of budget for September.

The announcement was made on September 9.

The department said it was asking the government for emergency funds so that payments could resume in October.

How ridiculous that a headline like this was happening during the coronavirus pandemic where millions of Thais were already suffering from the economic effects of the government-introduced lockdown.

How ridiculous that it is was not the first nor the last headline when it comes to the government’s mismanagement of the economy.

The above is a tweet from economic reporter Songkiet Chartwattan who said that he had been reporting on the economy for forty years and never had he seen “a government that had mismanaged the economy so abysmally.”

He quoted a report that said the government is asking national agencies throughout the country to continue to use the budget from fiscal year 2020 after the new fiscal year begins in October because the new budget would not be ready in time.

At a time when the country is facing its worst ever recession, with contraction estimated at around 10 per cent for 2020, the government has done little to alleviate the plight of the people and has chosen instead to fill its own coffers.

Rather than putting priority on the people and their livelihoods, the government has succumb to infighting an internal politicking.

They managed to score a public relations success by hiring Predee Daochai, a respected career banker, to the Finance Minister post. They then ran him out of office in less than a month because of internal party politics and idiotic power struggles. (Read more here)

They managed to rile up the public further by pursuing the purchase of billions of baht worth of military equipment, including two submarines, while the people struggle day-to-day from the ill-effects of the economy.

This government has passed stimulus after stimulus yet the money has not trickled down. The stimulus stream seems to have stopped, dammed by political ambitions and the bottomless greed of the ruling party.

In the immortal words of James Carville, “It’s the economy stupid” and right now the economy is being run by the stupid.

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