Friday, April 17, 2020

FNF webinar on freedom and the pandemic

This morning I joined the FNF’s "Freedom in the Time of a Pandemic" webinar via zoom. The topics and their speakers:

Democracy under threat - Ms. Marites Vitug, Rappler editor-at-large
Impacts on the economy - JC Punongbayan, Rappler columnist
Disinformation and freedom of expression - Matthew Reysio-Cruz,
Philippine Daily Inquirer Journalist
Philippine public health system - Dr. Joey Hernandez,
Philippine Society of Public Health Physicians
Understanding human rights - Marc Siapno, Commission on Human Rights
Suppression of freedom of movement - Ira Cruz, AltMobility

Frankly, I find some speakers more rhetorical than substantial. Maybe because I always look for numbers and hard data when I make any opinion. Here I will just post my comments and questions during the webinar.

1. Why not tax cut for people and SMEs, instead of more govt spending, more borrowings, which will require more taxes? Like waive VAT, car/motorcycle registrations for one year, count the total revenue loss as fiscal stimulus, billions of pesos.

JC Punongbayan replied:

Even if taxes are reduced, collections will be minimal because the economy is in shutdown, and people won’t go out and spend because of COVID-19 interventions. Payroll tax cuts also are regressive; many low-income workers already don’t pay taxes due to the TRAIN law, and payroll tax cuts won’t benefit those in the informal sector.

Me: No. All SMEs have a car, a van, even a tricycle or motorcycle. Just waive these registration fees, even the mandatory smoke emission fees racket.
Companies will recover mid or late this year, let them keep more money in their pockets via tax cut. But govt distrusts people. Govt does not believe that people can do good for themselves and their employees, only govt is trustworthy so govt will collect all taxes, centrally plan who will get how much. More central planning being aided by this hysteria.

Tax cut need not refer to personal income tax. It can refer to VAT, MVUC, excise tax, etc. Give people and companies breathing space, allow them to keep more money in their pockets for just one year, not surrendered to the govt bec govt is super bright, super sincere they won't waste or steal the money or spend on their friends and cronies.

2. Hi Wolfgang, the hysteria is leading towards one direction -- more govt, bigger govt. See how the President refers to Martial Law. See how the DOF, Congress talk about P1.2 trillion of extra spending on top of P4.1 trillion approved budget in 2020. See how they want to expand more borrowings from the multilaterals, and see how they already warn of more taxes, more regulatory fees, more fines and penalties starting next year. We prepare for more dictatorships, pol and economic, in the coming years.
(This question has been answered live)

3. Guys, have you seen the weekly data on "excess mortality", actual official registered deaths in EU and US? In EU, until week 15 2020, meaning until 4th week March, excess mortality in flu season 2016-17 are much larger than flu season 2019-20.

The same for US, flu season 2017-18 has more excess mortality than flu season 2019-20 until week 13 2020, latest data.

What happens now why the hysteria is big is that people who died because they have cancer + Covid, acute hypertension + Covid, old age with many diseases + Covid, etc., are now counted as Covid deaths.

More hysteria, more government, bigger government.

Nonetheless, thank you FNF-PH, Wolfgang, for this webinar. 

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