Tag Archives: deficit

When a state is dysfunctional

By: Abbas Nasir

WHO knows what a failed state is? Such definitions are for the academics and experts. But what one can easily ascertain is a state that is dysfunctional.

For what would you call a state that has neither the power to generate resources and tax those who need to be taxed, nor the system or even the need to ensure that it accounts for what it spends? It can keep piling up a huge deficit without question and have nothing to show for it.

What would you call a state that cannot deliver the very least: the safety of life and limb to its citizens? Where if you particularly happened to be in the smaller provinces the only thing you could get by on is your faith. Yes, God remains the only recourse.

Continue reading When a state is dysfunctional

Canadians not as confident about Harper in 2013

Heading into 2013, Canadians are confident about the economy, less confident about Harper

By Andy Radia

Despite all the news about the Americans going over the ‘fiscal cliff‘ next week, Canadians are still confident about our economy heading into the new year.

Continue reading Canadians not as confident about Harper in 2013

The True Cost of 9/11 – Trillions and trillions wasted on wars, a fiscal catastrophe, a weaker America.

– By Joseph E. Stiglitz

The Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks by al-Qaida were meant to harm the United States, and they did, but in ways that Osama Bin Laden probably never imagined. President George W. Bush’s response to the attacks compromised America’s basic principles, undermined its economy, and weakened its security.

Indeed, when Linda Bilmes and I calculated America’s war costs three years ago, the conservative tally was $3 trillion to $5 trillion. Since then, the costs have mounted further. With almost 50 percent of returning troops eligible to receive some level of disability payment, and more than 600,000 treated so far in veterans’ medical facilities, we now estimate that future disability payments and health care costs will total $600 billion to $900 billion. The social costs, reflected in veteran suicides (which have topped 18 per day in recent years) and family breakups, are incalculable.

Even if Bush could be forgiven for taking America, and much of the rest of the world, to war on false pretenses, and for misrepresenting the cost of the venture, there is no excuse for how he chose to finance it. His was the first war in history paid for entirely on credit. As America went into battle, with deficits already soaring from his 2001 tax cut, Bush decided to plunge ahead with yet another round of tax “relief” for the wealthy.

Today, America is focused on unemployment and the deficit. Both threats to America’s future can, in no small measure, be traced to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Increased defense spending, together with the Bush tax cuts, is a key reason why America went from a fiscal surplus of 2 percent of GDP when Bush was elected to its parlous deficit and debt position today. Direct government spending on those wars so far amounts to roughly $2 trillion—$17,000 for every U.S. household—with bills yet to be received increasing this amount by more than 50 percent. ….

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We need multiple measures to start a return: Mobarak Haider

by Waseem Altaf

The forces of chaos and disruption will not agree on anything less than absolute power. Unfortunately the world community will have to act. We are moving in a direction where our case might resemble that of Japan and Germany in Second World War

“Tragedies darken when their victims refuse to understand the causes. Intellectual failure has thus been the principle deficit; which means the so-called men of intellect are to blame” says Dr. Mobarak Haider. A political activist, scholar and renowned writer of English and Urdu, Dr. Mobarak Haidar was born and brought up in a traditional Muslim family of Pakistan. Mobarak received extensive Islamic education, graduated with Arabic. He earned his masters in English Literature, and taught in different colleges.

He was sent to jail several times by Pakistan’s Martial Law dictators as a political activist for democracy and human rights since 1967. Haider is member of HelpIntgrate, a group of activists working for the integration of Muslims with the modern societies. His books include ‘Tehzibi Nargasiat’ (Cultural Narcissism) and “Taliban: The Tip of A Holy Iceberg”. Excerpts:

Do you agree that Pakistani state as well as society is degenerating? If yes, what are the indicators?

Yes, unfortunately, that is true. The indicators are: 1) Rapid Ideological drift of vocal and dominant classes to a medieval concept of governance and society, 2) Ever-hardening ban on dialogue and debate, even organised physical elimination of dissent, 3) Chaotic exclusiveness in personal and institutional conduct, 4) Absense of the will or willingness to negotiate that chaotic exclusiveness, 5) Wild growth of armed non-state forces, 6) Paralysis of the state and society’s will to fight these forces, 7) Free fall of economy, incorrigible energy crisis, and an ever-deepening indifference of the state and its institutions toward economic and intellectual problems, 8) Systematic erosion of trust and prestige of democracy and political institutions, 9) A foreign policy of self-righteous isolation leading to a potential suicide blast, 10) Absence of a leadership with vision and prestige enough to halt the disaster. …

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Making the hard decisions to set our house in order

By Najmuddin A Shaikh

Last week, I had expressed hope that in the coming days we would make the hard decisions needed to prevent our country from sliding into anarchy and chaos. We would not then remain the country to which Muammar Qaddafi would point as an example of what could happen to Libya if his dictatorial regime was brought to an end.

Developments during the past week have not, to say the least, been encouraging. First we had the budget, in which no genuine effort seems to have been made to raise the tax base or to address impediments — energy shortages among others — and yet we have concluded that our deficit will remain under control and that growth will have an upward trajectory. Are we going to continue to go down the path of foreign aid dependency and have a government ‘of the elite by the elite and for the elite’ that taxes the poor and the now dwindling middle class mercilessly to nourish the ‘fat cats’ in the ranks of the bureaucracy and the political establishment? Can we not levy direct taxes that would bring the tax-to-GDP ratio to at least 15 per cent? Can we not spend more on education and health? Can we not stop treating the defence budget as beyond question? …

Read more : The Express Tribune

Professional Beggars at their best … but .. Beggars are not choosers!

Vice President Joe Biden is the latest high level U.S dignitary to visit Pakistan. As the series of such high profile visits continues, one wonders what actually transpires in such meetings and what kind of assurances are given from both sides to each other. In this episode of Reporter, Arshad Sharif tries to find out what PM Gilani meant when he said that he has given assurances to Joe Biden that practical steps will be taken to resolve all the difficult problems.

Courtesy: Dawn News (program Reporter with Arshad Sharif)

Source- You Tube Link

Pakistan economy on the verge of collapse?

Economy: on the verge of collapse?

Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh’s warning to officials of the state, delivered in a sombre meeting late last month, could not be clearer: the government, federal and provincial, is on the verge of financial collapse. So dire is the state of affairs that the government may not have money to pay salaries in a few months. Lest this be dismissed as hyperbole, Mr Sheikh’s comments have been echoed privately by many economists and experts familiar with state finances in recent weeks. In fact, if anything the finance minister’s comments are on the more optimistic side of dire.

The basic problem is clear: the Pakistani state, all tiers of government, spends twice as much as revenue generated, while neither is expenditure being curtailed nor are revenues being meaningfully increased. At the level of the citizenry, the immediate impact is felt in the form of rising inflation (sustained budget deficits of the kind Pakistan has had over the last few years are highly inflationary in nature) while in the long term it will be felt in terms of debt servicing crowding out investments in development and infrastructure.

The blame must be shared by everyone. …

Read more >> Dawn Editorial