The Budget – For Poor or The Rich

The government of Pakistan says that its income will stand at around Rs2.3 trillion and that it already has plans to spend Rs3 trillion. Wow; a deficit of more than Rs700 billion – with bated breath our government offers wicked vows. To bridge that gap we must, therefore, beg, borrow or steal Rs2 billion a day every single day for the rest of the year. Remember, ‘he who borrows sells his freedom’.

Let’s talk about government income – 35 per cent from direct taxes and 65 per cent from indirect taxes. What that means is that 65 per cent of government income is regressive in nature – the poorer you are the more you pay. That’s how pro-poor our budget is going to be – let the poor die to reduce poverty. In other words, the destruction of our poor is their poverty not our government.

Let’s talk about government expenses. Staff, household and allowances of the president – Rs1 million a day every single day for the rest of the year. Prime Minister’s Secretariat – Rs1.2 million a day every single day for the rest of the year. Prime minister’s foreign travels – Rs3 million a day every single day for the rest of the year. National Assembly – Rs4 million a day every single day for the rest of the year. Senate – Rs2 million a day every single day for the rest of the year. Cabinet secretariat – Rs70 billion a year or Rs200 million a day every single day for the rest of the year. Take as much money as you can from the poorest of the poor and give them hope in return. Hope, after all, has always been the poor man’s bread.

Welcome VAT, another regressive tax. The government hopes to increase its income by a whopping Rs70 billion. Ain’t going to happen because ‘hope and expectation are a fool’s income’. We will, therefore, have a much wider deficit. To be certain, deficits are what our presidents and prime ministers spend today. And, why should we worry about that because it’s not us but our kids who would have to pay up the debts.

Many a nights I have cried alone. Remember; ‘his grief is real who grieves when no one is by’. Yes, there’s good news as well – the shares business is going to be taxed. Why can’t rich agriculturists and real estate barons be taxed as well? Or, why can’t our presidents and prime ministers stay where they are? Why let Malik fly while Cameron rides a bus?

What really is our real problem? Not America, Israel or India. It’s our own government failing to reconcile its gross habits with its net income. For 63 years we have been beating the big drum: CIA, Mossad or RAW behind everything evil in Pakistan? Remember; ‘a fool is like the big drum that beats fast but does not realise its hollowness’.

Of the 170 million Pakistanis this democracy of ours has benefited 70 ministers in Islamabad and some 200 ministers in provincial capitals. The other 169,999,730 are angry, hungry and poorer. Don’t be angry my countrymen – and women – because anger in this Land of the Pure can be an expensive luxury.

Nothing, they say, is certain but death and taxes. I always wanted to marry for money and then I was told I could borrow it cheaper. Ready to borrow always; who readily borrows, readily lies. So we begin our fiscal year begging, borrowing and stealing. Bad beginnings, bad endings.

P.S. PM’s entourage in Brussels: Hotel 60,000 euros; Limousines 120,000 euros; Dinner 25,000 euros. Total Rs20 million of borrowed money already spent.

By: Dr Farrukh Saleem
Email: farrukh15@hotmail.com

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