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What’s next after Mrs. Arroyo?

We condemn the illegal proclamation of a state of national emergency, which has led to the violent dispersal of peaceful assemblies, the arbitrary arrests, and the curtailment of press freedom. We expect Gloria Arroyo’s unconstitutional responses to even intensify, but by doing so, she is accelerating the destruction of her unwelcome rule.

The people’s defiance expressed in the huge demonstration of February 24 crystallizes the imperative of facing head-on Arroyo’s repressive response. As each day passes, many people are becoming more receptive to the idea that it is alright to use any means necessary to oust Mrs. Arroyo. More and more people now believe that extra-constitutional means is an acceptable way to remove an incorrigible, unrepentant Arroyo, who has increasingly relied on crypto-dictatorial rule to preserve her power.

The Truth about Gloria’s Economics

The government has been putting a lot of positive spin on the appreciation of the peso and the surge of investments in the stock market. For the past weeks, the financial sector has indeed been showing positive signs. With the peso strengthening against the US dollar, even breaching the P53/$1 level coupled with the decline in the 91-day treasury bill rates and the surge of investments in the stock market, one can be tricked into thinking that all is well with the Philippine economy, as the Arroyo administration would like to put it.

Sabotaging Government: The New Politics of the Radical Right

Thirty years ago the economic debate between Democrats and Republicans was framed in terms of the case for bigger versus smaller government. Democrats emphasized market proclivities toward monopoly and inequality, failure of markets to efficiently provide public goods, market incentives to pollute, and above all the tendency of markets to produce less than full employment. Republicans countered that such market failures were over-stated. More importantly, using government to solve market failures could lead to even worse problems of government failure associated with bureaucratic inefficiency, policy misjudgments, and private capture of regulatory agencies. In an imperfect world, Republicans argued that it is better to live with the problem of market failure and opt for small government, than try and solve it by resort to big government.

New Sources of Development Financing: The Case for a Green Tax

Financing for development is evidently a key issue in the global response to the challenge of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is a tough challenge to raise additional revenues to fight global poverty and foster all-sided development. Notwithstanding recent initiatives for significant debt relief for the poorest heavily indebted countries and some trade concessions to developing countries, much still has to be done to generate enough resources for development and anti-poverty spending.

Compromising the VAT (again)?

The proposed legislation on the value-added tax (VAT) is likewiseheaded towards a heavily compromised revenue measure. The VAT proposalhas two main features – an increase in the VAT rate from 10% to 12%,and a broadening of the coverage of VAT.

Reformers are divided over this issue. Mainstream economists havecalled for the rate increase to stem the fiscal crisis. Their argumentis simple: the VAT, among the proposed tax measures, has the capacityto generate the biggest amount of revenues. A two percentage pointincrease in the VAT rate is equivalent to P25 billion in additionalrevenues.