Thailand Underground Economy
|August 20, 2002||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Greed Leads Down a Strange Path
Thailand to tax ‘former’ crimes
Here is an interest tidbit that we gleaned from the BBC News.
Imagine making certain activities legal, not because they were harmless, not because they should never have been banned, but only because the government wants to grab money from them to increase its own salaries!
Corruption: An unreasonable business expense? Thailand’s government wants to legalise some underground businesses in order to tax them so it can fund higher salaries for government party officials, the AFP news agency has reported, citing a source close to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
It is not clear what sort of illegal activities would be legalised. Forgery? Robbery? Arson? Bribery?
The government actually believes that corruption would be curbed if government officials received higher salaries, the source said.
Removing corruption would also reduce companies’ expenses because they would no longer have to spend vast sums on bribing officials, the source said, apparently repeating what Mr Thaksin had said in a speech to members of his Thai Rak Thai party on Sunday.
“Reform is needed to bring these underground businesses above ground so that the government can collect more tax revenue,” the source said.
“The additional taxes can be used for increasing public officials’ salaries so they do not have to be corrupt.” Election pledge
Mr Thaksin said the reforms could be pushed through if his party was elected to another term in office. Thailand desperately needs to go ahead with economic and social reforms, and its bureaucracy must be shaken up, Mr Thaksin said.
He also called for reforms of Thailand’s foreign policy, its education system and its legal system.
There’s a very sick logic embedded in that report. What’s your opinion? Tell your views to The Progress Report!