Minimum wages and taxes

Dear Editor,

The years 2018 and 2019 were brutal, financially and socially for the unwashed masses of Bahamians, especially here on New Providence and Grand Bahama. What is remarkable is that the five seats in Grand Bahama are all held by the ruling regime. There are four Free National Movement (FNM) Cabinet ministers from that desolated and politically forgotten island. Here on New Providence, the FNMs command all constituency seats with the stark exception of Englerston. If one were not a careful political observer, you’d never believe this, despite the reality of the situation.

A majority of Bahamians, inclusive of myself, bought the FNM’s electoral promises hook, line and sinker. The bait looked good and we swallowed it all. Now, Minnis and crew have been unmasked for what they truly are. These people have got to be anti-Bahamian and appear to have it in for the poor and middle class, black Bahamians. With the massive increase in value-added tax and the proposed rate reduction increases in Bahamas Power & Light bills, these classes of Bahamians are at risk of being wiped out and relegated to the poor house.

The unexpected damages wrought by Dorian and the long-shuttered economy of Grand Bahama have further reduced our national economy to shambles, despite the bogus and strident tones of the headed minister of finance; the financial secretary; the attorney general and of course, the deer in headlights, the prime minister. We have been blacklisted, again, by components of the European Union and the FNM is running around like a headless Androsian vulture.

In less than three years, the FNM has demonstrated that it is inept when it comes to running a national economy. Some members of that regime are said to be good business persons when they were in the private sector but clearly, high finance and national economic interaction continue to befuddle them, all and sundry.

Now the prime minister has indicated that all civil servants will be receiving a minimum of $1,400 in this month’s pay package across the board. In addition, sometime soon, I guess, the government has proposed to increase the government’s minimum wage scale. The workers in the private sector can expect nothing from this regime except taxes and more taxes, ad nauseam.

This increase and lump sum payment are nothing more than a gross attempt by Minnis and crew to bamboozle the unwashed Bahamians and to curry political advantage. Where will the money come from? More borrowings, on top of the monies needed for reconstruction and the recurrent expenses, coupled with a drastic revenue shortfall. There is no free lunch and I submit that the proposed largess of this mentally bankrupt administration will be funded by additional taxes and user fees.

Minnis fooled the Bahamian electorate, big time, in 2017 along with his diabolical band of merry men and women. Since coming to office, the FNM, initially, was welcomed with rose petals and calypso music. Today, many Bahamians, especially the unwashed ones, are anxious to see the backs of that party and its leadership. Except the Lord Jesus Christ intervenes, this regime will be roast come the next general elections.

The proposed increase in minimum wages for public servants is an artificial means by which Minnis or the proponents of the same will prop up wages. This is dead wrong. In a capitalist society, employers will usually pay employees what they are worth to their businesses, no more, no less. It is based on merit and qualifications. With minimum wages, imposed by the state, the falseness in all of this is that minimum wages tend to negatively impact the very business or trade that they were designed to improve.

No employer can be forced into hiring anyone. This is a trite fact. If you are only worth $250 per week, how are you going to force me to hire him or her at that rate or any other? A prudent employer will simply cut back on the number of employees, thus reducing employment opportunities while placing countless others on the unemployment line or on the dole. If a government were to stimulate robust economic growth and were to eliminate or reduce burdensome red tape and regulations, you’d see increased employment and a drastic reduction in social service benefits.

Minnis is akin to a man lost in space. The minister of finance is an abject failure in this vital post. It is unfortunate, at this juncture, that we are limited to the FNM bumblers or to the new deal Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) led by a focused and visionary leader, Philip Brave Davis. To God then, in all things be the glory.

– Ortland H. Bodie Jr.

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