Sunday, 5 February 2012

The Elision Of Nescience

Here is the very first sentence of today's Timid Times editorial :
"Taiwan faces a rising national deficit and increasing government debt, so it is reasonable that the government proposes new taxes."
Immediately, the alternative of real public spending cuts, is elided. Why is that? It is because the primary cause of the coming fiscal crisis is the insistence on over-inflated State provision of public goods such as education and social welfare - insisted upon by, among others, the editors of the Taipei Times themselves.

Reality check: in last year's NT$1.79 trillion budget, the two largest items were... education (NT$357 billion) and social welfare (NT$347 billion), neither of which need be funded by the State at all. Perhaps, however, the editors pass over the possibility of depolitizing reforms because they would be too painful. Would not real public spending cuts be especially hard?
"Of course, reform is painful and tax reform especially hard."
Of course, what the brave editors of the Timid Times are prepared to "fight for" is yet more coercive fiat imposed by the government, with, in this case, the implementation of yet more taxes to further the metastasis of the very tumour which is causing the fiscal crisis in the first place: over-inflated State provision of public goods.

I note also that this editorial seems to have been precisely cued by Turton's letter last month after the elections. Indeed, there is not a word in it with which he would disagree. I would write to them to protest, but criticism of this nature has long been unwelcome there.

Here is a question: if the Taipei Times shut up shop tommorow, what fucking difference would it make?

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