This past Tuesday night, we witnessed what was billed as the first televised debate in the history of The Bahamas. All things considered, this debate was probably a small milestone in the political history of The Bahamas. We will leave the pageantry and historical value of the night aside.
The Nassau Institute has two comments on the policy choices put forwarded by the different candidates. The term "choices" here is used very loosely, as the four candidates were all promising varying degrees of the same.
The "choices" being offered by the candidates all required two underlying and fundamental policy recommendations:
- "Government Taxation & Spending"
- "Cradle to The Grave Politics"
"Government Taxation & Spending": The Bahamian Government cannot spend or give away to a Bahamian that which it does not first take by force from another Bahamian (ever heard the expression "Robbing Peter to Pay Paul"?). Also, the Government can never "create" jobs by taxation and spending. None of these candidates discussed the jobs that are destroyed by Government taxation, because Bahamians residents and companies have less of their own money to spend and invest to create jobs of their own and to employ other people. To state the obvious, you spend your own money far more wisely than tax revenues spent by government bureaucrats.
"Cradle to The Grave Politics": Bahamians need to move beyond looking to be taken care of by others. Instead, look to yourself, your family & friends, your extended community and (if necessary) private & voluntary philanthropy for your own well being. Stop asking your MP or Government to forcefully take money from your fellow Bahamians and to have that money spent on you.
As encouraging as it was to see new political parties on the debate stage, we need a new "small government & low taxation" mindset, not more recommendations and creative ways to tax Bahamians further.