Economic Bollocks

I can’t help but notice that the Leader of the Opposition’s main message at last Sunday’s sermon was that Robert Abela’s legacy is “a future of debt”, as quoted by the Times of Malta. Naturally seeing this headline, I couldn’t help but click on it, only to be left much disappointed with the contents that laid therein.  

Grech’s message, or lack thereof was nothing short of economic bollocks. Firstly, Grech proceeds to position himself against the debt being accumulated by the government. Alright, then he’s all for austerity, I thought to myself. However, a couple of lines after crusading against the borrowing of money, Grech actually argues that the government did not give enough.

In one speech, what Grech actually did was showcase two different economic thoughts. For his main point, he chose austerity and neo-liberalism, implying that he’d much rather let the economy contract in times of crises, rather than helping out by borrowing money to boost economic demand. Then, however, he goes all-out Keynesian, sounding as if he’s FDR on steroids, saying that the government actually should have invested more vis-a-vis certain sectors of society. To make matters worse, in the last months the Nationalist Party has also been proposing VAT cuts, cuts that would mean that if the PN were in government, the public purse would collect less. Reduce government income, increase government spending or decrease it – will the real Bernard Grech please stand up!?

When it comes to Grech’s philosophy however, it seems as if he doesn’t have one. Unless that is, he has two diametrically opposed ones!

You see, personally speaking, I’m a Keynesian. I’m all for borrowing money, and reinvesting that money in people, industry, and infrastructure to boost demand, if long-term growth would be guaranteed. And this is because with that long-term economic growth, the country’s Debt to GDP ratio will continue plummeting, not to mention the fact that further economic surpluses can be used to reduce debt in times of extraordinary prosperity. That is my philosophy, and from the looks of it, that’s the government’s philosophy as well.

When it comes to Grech’s philosophy however, it seems as if he doesn’t have one. Unless that is, he has two diametrically opposed ones! His constant flip-flopping in the same speech, choosing to go with one policy for the headline, and another policy for his content, is nothing short of irregular, for someone who’d like to see himself as a Prime Minister in waiting. As things stand, there are only two things that can best describe him. He’s either wholly and economically incompetent, or else he’s simply trying to deceive voters and party loyalists alike.

If he truly believes that what he’s saying is possible, meaning that it is somehow possible to spend more without borrowing money, he’s simply incompetent. But if he’s giving priority to headlines, instead of economic substance, it means he’s being deceptive – which, mind you is just as bad as being incompetent.

The first thing that those around Grech should do, is point these facts out. What does Bernard Grech, truly want? Does he want economic austerity, with budget reminiscent of 2012 Greece? Or does he want increased spending via a New Deal programme adapted to the 21st century? You know, you can’t have it both ways, and neither can you argue for more enforcement on tax evasion, while evading tax yourself. Apart from being economically and morally sound, a leader has to be consistent, and for one, the “Leader” of the Opposition definitely lacks consistency.

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Kevin J Drake
Kevin J Drake
2 years ago

Great article. Hits the nail squarely on the head. The title in itself basically says it all. Kudos!

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