Saturday, September 26, 2020

The weak point in Thai democracy? A lack of taxpayers

Oct 30. 2017
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The main reason why Thailand has problems with democracy as compared with other countries is really quite obvious!

In more developed countries, any proposed populist policies come under microscopic examination.

This is because the majority of voters pay substantial tax and they want to know how their money is being spent. They want to know that they are getting their money’s worth.

Any party in a foreign country suggesting such outrageous and expensive policies as those which elected the last government in Thailand would probably lose it’s deposit! Unfortunately, Thai taxpayers are heavily outnumbered.

In Thailand, the income tax threshold is set at Bt150,000 per annum. Only some 8 per cent of the working population pay income tax. A large section of the population buy nearly all their food and clothing from local markets, where VAT is unheard of. They also tend to buy used motorcycles, etc. Nobody can blame them, but they vote for the party that benefits them the most rather than what is best for the country as a whole. This situation is readymade for political manipulation.

When populist policies are enforced, the taxpayer’s burden increases and/or the country gets into serious debt, and disruption inevitably follows.

Presumably the junta’s much discussed constitution seeks to find a solution to the problem.

Surely, we should all be wishing them the best of luck.

Tony Ash


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