A tale of two newspapers: Stimulus package

A tale of two newspapers: Stimulus package - July 13, 2005
The Post has another 'just-the-facts-as-the-government-tells-us' article and reserves its modest criticism for an editorial the next day (A need to trim populist spending, Bangkok Post, July 14, 2005). The Nation states in its headline that the "PM throws caution to the wind," but does give perspective to the moves citing the diesel float and sagging government popularity. The Post lets the PM have the last word while The Nation quotes a poll.
PM pledges major push for economy - Major speech outlines GDP stimulus package - Bangkok Post, July 13, 2005
The government has pledged to give the slow economy a new push by cutting back on unnecessary expenses, salary increment for civil servants and a minimum wage hike for workers, and tax incentives to encourage the private sector to pay their employees more.
In a speech given at last night's fund-raising dinner celebrating Mont Fort School's 72nd anniversary, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said the Thai economy was in for a huge stimulus package.
He urged the people not to panic in the face of rising fuel prices, insisting that all relevant figures confirmed the economy was still in fine shape. However, public confidence was essential to keep the national economy afloat, he said.
...Mr Thaksin concluded his speech with a call for the public to trust him and let him work for the country. ''You don't have to love me or like me. Help the country and I'll do my best.''

ECONOMIC PUMP-PRIMING: Embattled PM throws caution to the wind - The Nation, July 13, 2005
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday unveiled an economic-stimulus package highlighted by more populist spending schemes. The measures represent a major political gamble apparently aimed at arresting the slump in the prime minister's popularity and cushioning the impact of the government's decision to end the diesel-price subsidy yesterday.
...Almost 47 per cent of a focus group comprising 144 people said they were "rather satisfied" with the government's short-term measures to boost the economy. About 40 per cent of focus group viewers said they were "rather confident" that the measures announced would be beneficial.

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Also: Editorial: A need to trim populist spending - Bangkok Post, July 14, 2005
...While populist spending schemes for state officials, pensioners, old people and labourers are justified, the government's promise to inject 250,000 baht into each of the 80,000 villages to be spent ``freely'' by the village committees on so-called SML projects they drew up is most troubling.
Due to insufficient state control of the spending, absence of follow-up of the results, as well as the doubtful ability of village committees to manage state funds, the likelihood is that much of the money will be poorly invested if not totally wasted.
...The government may be powerless to control oil prices. But it can resort to more effective ways to save energy and hence reduce the huge oil import bill which is exacerbating the country's current account deficit and thus threatening its economic stability. And that means the government must have the courage to apply the bitter pill, to cut back on populist spending and to adopt an austerity approach.
To start with, the government should rethink its planned investment in mega infrastructure projects.
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