People and economist are saying that Trinidad and Tobago is living beyond its means and that is contributing to the drain on foreign exchange in the country. This was no doubt made worse in the short term by the flood of back-pay to public servants. Also, our spending habits such as buying too many cars and flooding “skyboxes” with goodies all year round is no doubt a big drain but I can say from observation that the forex drain from buying imported cars far outweigh the purchases via individuals’ skyboxes.
But the real cause of this drain is too much disposal income due to heavily subsidized basic needs such as water, electricity, prescription medicine, gasoline, laptops, GATE and canned foods. If we were to pay a less subsidized portion of these items then there would be less money to make the unimaginative big time importers of everything even less imaginative and innovative. The motto of these companies seems to be “just bring it down and it will sell.”
Everyday you see oil prices sliding downhill worse than Jack Warner’s reputation. Everyday you see countless ads urging us to buy in order to be happy. Banks, a big beneficiary of the big disposable incomes due to big government subsidies, are all too willing to make it happen with a loan of your choice. The Minister of Finance hinted that they are concerned with how the reduction in government subsidies will affect the most vulnerable. The most vulnerable has always been the politicians’ pet and best friend so it is always in political parties interest to have as many most-vulnerable as they can create as democracy is one man one vote.
I am anxious for the elections to be over with and I do not envy the next party in power as something drastic will have to be done quickly to prevent our thin-walled economic bubble from bursting. Sink or swim, Kamla or Rowley, I want this thing called General Elections to be over so we can pay attention to the more serious things in life like the economy and how much de Government goe give we.