Friday, January 04, 2008

Don't worry. Be happy.

The government is trying hard to assure everybody that impending disaster is not around the corner, despite all the evidence to the contrary. The PM is saying that the effect of lifting subsidies on the economy will not be significant. Of course, the biggest worry is not how this will affect the economy, but how it will affect people.

It is hoped that the removing taxes on food will be an appropriate placebo. The head of the food merchants association, Khalil Al Haj Tawfiq, is vacillating, saying that stocks that have already been taxed need to be depleted before consumers feel the change. According to Haj Tawfiq, this should take a couple of months, which is long enough for people to have forgotten. Not to worry. Haj Tawfiq promises that if the merchandise was already exempt, then consumers will feel the effect of the 0% reduction right away.

Of course, when taxes are raised, merchants swiftly raise prices, even on stocks that were not taxed.

The prime minister is asking the private sector (nicely) to lower prices and raise salaries for their workers. Obviously, this is meaningless. Jamil Nimri suggests that the government goes back to fixing prices. I believe that a better solution is to activate anti-monopoly laws. Free markets can work only if mechanisms are used to enforce such laws, and jail a couple of fat cats found to be fixing prices. Right. Like that will happen.

The government also wants us to take solace that they promised not to raise the lowest category of electricity use, which are residential users who consume less than 160 kilowatt hours per month. The problem with this is that many people have gone to heating with electricity instead to diesel, LPG or kerosene. This means that few people will be able to meet the low consumption requirements needed to take advantage of the government’s generosity. After 160 kilowatt hours, all bets are off, and nobody knows how high the tariffs will go.

Even the ministry of agriculture is trying to make people feel good. Today, they are assuring people that the lack of rain will not affect crops. I never knew that.

Anyway, don’t worry. Be Happppy!

5 Comments:

At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Ahmad Al-Sholi said...

I am not worried, am happy :))))))
would love to see some fat cats slaughtered brutally!!

 
At 1:21 AM, Blogger Abu Daoud said...

This is good stuff as always. The sad thing is that people want the prosperity of capitalism while still sticking to the tribalism and nepotism of Arab culture. You can't have it both ways.

I mean, how many times have you seen some guy just sitting around the office doing nothing and he's there because his uncle HAD to hire him.

Even though he's less qualified and skilled than the other people who applied for the job.

 
At 7:43 AM, Blogger Masalha1 said...

Khalaf,
There is a code of conduct among merchants in Jordan "once the price goes up it will never go down" there is no real competition in Jordan, its a MONOPOLY you have your share of the market and I have mine, MEAT is only imported by a couple of CATS so is RICE, SUGAR and so on and thats usually because of the regulations imposed by the governments, only qualified FAT CATS can import these items and if some one dares to compete with them they'll put him out of business.
Its all part of the corrupted politicians who put these laws and regulations that govern the market, free market by name only.
By the way if you have a couple of light bulbs and a TV set and a refrigerator most likely you'll consume more than the stupid 160 KW threshold set by the government to protect the poor.

 
At 8:30 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Ahmad: Sorry to tell you that you might have to wait a while.

Abu Daoud: You are right. We aspire for progress, but can't let go of the past (particularly those aspects that stand in the way of modernity).

Masalha: I totally agree.

 
At 7:25 AM, Blogger Firas said...

What's next?
They'll put Prozac in water so everyone is Happyyyyyyyy? Oh crap, I've realized that we don't drink tap water anymore! We Ghadeer it!

Keep'em coming Aj

 

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