Re: The finger pointing begins, Volume 12, Number 25, June 26 - July 2, 2006
Slovaks will find out what they voted for soon enough, or more specifically, they will find that life will not improve one little bit.
I suppose that the east-west highway will be completed sooner; the one or other crony is bound to have a stake in the company to get a contract. If say the post-office is privatised for a charm to another crony, the elimination of small post-offices will result in many Slovaks having to take the bus to go and buy a stamp.
The latter is going to happen anyway sometime, but now Smer will be the one to blame for this 'inconvenience'.
Professionals in the medical field (from surgeons to nurses) will have to get their 20 percent increase, or will leave, creating a dilemma if the beneficiary of medical aid is not asked to pay more. Monopolies will be taxed to the hilt? One would have to classify some body running a monopoly first, and next face a confrontation with the EU! No, or low, VAT levied on foodstuffs does not really help those [many] who don't pay VAT on those items anyway, for they grow and swap them themselves.
Overtaxing banks will only lead to higher bank costs for the consumer. To cut a long story short, I haven't the faintest what silly things Smer could do without causing a situation whereby early elections cannot be avoided.
One thing is certain, there are 'interesting' times ahead.
Well I think a little bit of balance is called for here.
Slovak unemployment levels are extremely high, topping 16 percent last year, and many Slovaks believe they were better off under Communism, according to a recent poll.
Although the growth rate is improving the situation in the country, being frisked for money when going into a hospital in pain (a Dzurinda reform) or multimillionaires paying only 19 percent tax, is plain stupid.
Neither the US nor the UK have such low taxes, I pay 40 percent tax in the UK plus all the other indirect taxes (in effect half my income goes to the government) and this has been like this forever.
A few years of Fico will probably slow (the economy) a bit, according to economists the growth should be something like 5 percent and not 6.1 percent to be sustainable. If Slovakia emulates Ireland of the 80s then this will get the development of Slovakia in a sustainable path, particularly if Fico keeps the corruption in his party to a minimum. There is nothing wrong with a government with a social face.
Having constant right-wing governments would make this European country look like a social mess such as the USA, the scenes of deprivation and poverty in the richest nation on earth are a stark reminder that centre right policies are the best, but they need to be tempered by a social conscience, and support for the weakest in society. Charity is not enough as its both too little and too targeted on some fashionable causes.
London & Bratislava
10. Jul 2006 at 0:00