Politics – A contest for government favours?

First Published: 2011-01-23

The Bahamas Parliament recently debated amendments to the Business Licence Act in an effort to increase revenue as a result of the governments precarious financial position. In the process, some businesses were granted lower tax rates than others.

Mr. Ryan Pinder, MP for Elizabeth, wondering why government chose to lower the tax for certain busnesses, claimed they were "generally supporters of the FNM" and this was public policy for special interest groups. (The Tribune, Thursday, January 20, 2011).

Of course special interest politics, if that’s what we’re seeing here, is nothing new. As Dr. Steve Horwitz points out recently in The Freeman "…all political officials gain from providing benefits to the private sector, hoping different politicians and bureaucrats will do better is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic."

Mr. Pinder confirms this when he is quoted as saying: "Enough with the catering to special interests… An alternative would be for a reduced business license fee for small, growing companies…" etc, etc.

In other words, the special interest group that should get the benefits using the power of Government should be chosen by Mr. Pinder and not the current Minister of Finance.

If it is all special interest policymaking, they’re both wrong. This then begs the question if any government has the right to dig into taxpayer wallets whenever they’ve borrowed and spent the country into a difficult spot like the world recession has highlighted.

If only for future generations, politics should be more than a fight to determine who gets the privilege to grant government favours at taxpayer expense?

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