The Irony of Massive Government Borrowing

From Manager, March 26, 2013
Left, Red Shirt leader Thida Thavornseth: With Khun Poo’s ability, we gain victory over the ammat again. [“Poo” is the nickname of PM Yingluck.]
People cheering: Hey hey hey hey…
Right: Khun Poo can borrow 10 times more than the ammat government! [meaning the Yingluck can borrow 10 times more than previous Democrat-led governments which the Red Shirts refer to as an “aristocrat government”]
People cheering: Hey hey hey hey…
Caption below: Totally defeated by the phrai government [meaning the so-called “aristocrat government” of the Democrats was far surpassed in spending by the Yingluck “commoner” government]

While the Red Shirts are essentially a politcal action group acting for Thaksin and his family members, in their rhetoric they emphasize the separation of classes by calling themselves “phrai” (or “commoner”) and their political enemies “ammat” (meaning something like “aristocrats” or the “elite”).

The cartoon above refers to the unprecedented 2.2 trillion-baht loan for investment in infrastructure approved by the cabinet. The irony expressed in the cartoon is that a cornerstone of Thaksin and Red Shirt rhetoric has been the flaying their political enemies over issues of debt.

Thaksin’s initial success with his Thai Rak Thai Party was largely gained by attacking the then Democrat-led government over “selling out the country” by taking loans from the IMF. The Thai Rak Thai hammered home the idea that it would take generations to pay these loans off.

Later, during the Democrat-led government in 2009, the Pheu Thai ridiculed as untenable the government plan to give loans to the average man (Do not get drunk yet brother) before later promising their own rural credit schemes. Thus, it is surprising that the Pheu Thai-led government is borrowing at levels that dwarf anything their political enemies ever attempted.

Earlier in 2009: Red Shirt media once lamented that a child had to be born Thai since being born Thai meant he would be saddled with the Democrat Party’s debt:

From Believe in Thailand with Prime Minister Abhisit – Northern Post Red, August 8, 2009
The caption reads: I am proud that we earn a hundred baht daily, but we are burdened with a government debt that reaches 100,000 per head. The child asks “Why they take loan? The man replies, “it is about benefit.” [meaning corrupt officials benefit from government borrowing and it does nothing for the common man]
[This refers the large amount of borrowing that the Democrat government engaged in to stimulate the economy. The Pheu Thai Party opposed this, seeing in this the same issue that brought Thaksin to power years ago–the idea that the country was being burdened with unmanageable debt.]

From Believe in Thailand with Prime Minister Abhisit – Northern Post Red, August 8, 2009
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva: If you don’t want to owe more debt, do not give birth to a child as you will bear more debt burden–about 100,000 per head, ha, ha, ha.
The caption reads: [Government’s] Policy on poverty

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One Response to The Irony of Massive Government Borrowing

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