More Handouts to Lower Middle Classes by Abhisit Regime

Curiously, no other country responding to the ongoing economic crisis has decided the best way to stimulate their economy is to hand out cash to lower middle class workers, mostly in the government sector. It might be thought that the people most in need of cash assistance would be the very poor or the newly unemployed, both of which classes of people would certainly cash the cheques and spend the money in short order. Those in the category of ‘salary not more than 15,000 baht per month,’ might be considered lower middle class at worst. The money (approximately $428 per month) may not seem a great deal but it is rather higher than the minimum wage (c. $150 per month with variations) and it is likely that many in this category (especially those in multiple wage-earning households) will prefer to save the money rather than spend it immediately.

Nevertheless, the Abhisit regime has decided on a second round of handouts to these people (they are also, of course, the sectors from which the Democrats would need to win votes if they were actually to be elected). Government spokesperson Pluettichai Damrongratana seemed to have little idea to what extent the previous handout had actually made any difference – he claimed that 96% of the previously distributed cheques had been cashed at a bank and claimed that meant the money had been circulated in the economy – of course it means no such thing.

As for other measures, they seem to be long on tedious administrivia and short on actual specifics – the government has, for example, decided to monitor results and compare them with the initial objectives – well, it needs no ghost come from hell to tell us this.

Abhisit’s Money Politics

Abhisit’s money politics are now in full spate: we are seeing the most recent outbreak of squabbling over which faction gets to control which budget purely on the basis of what benefit each can get from it:

“The source quoted a Bhumjaithai executive as saying: “If he’s not going to resign during the party meeting on May 21 [Thursday], we’ll use a resolution from the meeting of the party’s MPs to force him out.”

The source said Mr Chartchai had performed well as a deputy minister but had failed to contribute to the party’s political activities.

Bhumjaithai will meet tomorrow to discuss Mr Chartchai’s replacement. A strong candidate is Nakhon Phanom MP Supachai Phosu, the source said.

In the wake of reports of a cabinet change under the Bhumjaithai quota, the Puea Pandin Party is demanding another cabinet seat.

Puea Pandin spokesman Alongkot Maneekart said the party held 24 House seats but only received three cabinet portfolios. With 24 MPs the party should get an additional cabinet seat.

It was hardly fair that Bhumjaithai, which has just a few seats more than Puea Pandin, had more cabinet ministers, Mr Alongkot said.”

So, the interests of voters are set aside, the role of ideology is set aside and the interests of good governance are set aside. Will the people of Thailand really stand for this regression after having enjoyed five years of genuine democratic representation?