By: J. Yanqui Zaza
February 12, 2014
|Charles W. Brumskine|
Former presidential candidate Councilor Charles Brumskine and his Freedom Party accused President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her Unity Party of failing to address “gross income inequality,” according to a FrontPage article Africa, a Liberian website. So can a new leader such as one of Liberia’s best lawyers, Charles Brumskine, who embraces the same economic system the current president instituted, can he find the trick and spur prosperity in this war-weary country? ?
Income inequality, this old age issue, is back on the scene. Unlike a series of debates that have taken place mainly among academics over the past centuries, nowadays everyone is involved. More so, eminent personalities, including Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under President William Clinton; Joseph E. Stieglitz, former World Bank official; Pope Francis, etc. regrets that capitalism is the culprit of income inequality.
Interestingly, some US lawmakers who legislate on corporate welfare but at the same time denounce the idea of helping the poor, for example, not only frowned at income inequality, but welcomed favorably Pope Francis’ critiques of capitalism as an unjust economic system. . For example, Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, a potential presidential candidate and, or Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House and now co-host of CNN’s Crossfire, ”accepted Pope Francis’ criticism and said added that we shouldn’t be living on a planet with billionaires and people who have no food.
Pope Francis said that “… the ‘crude and naive reliance on the goodness’ of the minority to dispose of some of its surpluses, which will inevitably lead to economic growth as well as greater ‘justice and inclusiveness’ has never been achieved. confirmed by the facts… ”of capitalism. (The Washington Post newspaper, 11/23/2013).
Yes, some facts. The World Bank (lender / consultant) makes billions in profits, while its clients (poor countries) go bankrupt. Wall Street has gone bankrupt, Detroit (the city of the American auto industry) has gone bankrupt, or the United States is in billions of debt, etc.
What is capitalism? Chris Harman, in his article “The Rise of Capitalism”, defines capitalism this way. He explains that the presence of competition and consumer actions as well as the role of government generally attempt to curb the excesses of capitalism; the compulsive desire of a minority part of society to accumulate wealth encourages them to grab the surpluses created by the toil of the rest of the world.
In Liberia, the accumulation of wealth by a minority of the population resulted in the deaths of over 250,000 people during the civil war. Yet such a gruesome lesson did not influence the desires of local capitalists (owners of Monrovia) and foreign capitalists (slave investors) to grab 90% of Liberia’s natural resource dividends. In fact, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the legislature, with weak public protest, continue to sell Liberia’s natural resources cheaply to slave investors, all because of capitalist principles.
Today, Charles Brumskine, a lawyer, who has profited and continues to profit from the spoils of capitalism, and is a leading player, accuses President Sirleaf of having implemented his choice of economic philosophy, capitalism. He shamed President Sirleaf for not addressing “gross income inequalities” in Liberia, according to the Front-page website. Further, he quoted: “This nation cannot enjoy long term peace and prosperity with only 7% of its population ahead of 90% of the wealth and 70% of the Liberian people living on less than $ 1.25. US per day, ”he said. added. In addition, he said President Sirleaf did not enforce the policies that would employ technical Liberians, but allowed investors to bring in their own technical staff, use their own outside suppliers, pay income to l ‘foreigner, etc.
Amid numerous recommendations, the Liberty Party presidential candidate, according to Front-page, proposed the following: that investors should plant a tree in surrounding communities for every tree planted to earn money; that the concessionaire must undertake to provide technical assistance; that Liberians should become shareholders; that Liberians should have access to land, affordable housing and new market opportunities, etc.
Are Councilor Charles Brumskine and the Liberty Party serious and ready to fight and reduce “gross income inequalities” or are the observations and recommendations part of the 2017 presidential campaign? However, where was one of Liberia’s brilliant lawyers, who has expertise in drafting concession agreements, when President Sirleaf allowed the World Bank to write heart agreements for slave investors? Will his law firm represent employee investors who would sue the Liberian government for attempting to renegotiate the concession agreements made by the second renegotiation round?
Was it not Fonati Kofa, Chairman of the Freedom Party, and with the blessing of Party financier Charles Brumskine, who insisted that bribery was not an impeachment offense, unlike Article 63 (B) of the 1986 Constitution, which states that “… a presidency may become vacant for reasons of (1) death, (2) resignation, (3) dismissal and (4) incapacity. By inference from the Freedom Party, D. Tweh was wrong to call for Tubman’s resignation; MOJA and PAL were wrong to call for Tolbert’s resignation; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was wrong to call for the resignation of Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor; and Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe was wrong to call for the resignation of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. (JKK Peah, new exemption)
Okay, let’s forget about the past activities of Councilor Brumskine and the chairman of the Liberty Party and examine their philosophy of economic theory. In the same article, Liberty Party appears to disagree with Pope Francis’ view on the effects of the trickle down theory. Councilor Brumskine suggests that all will be well if the petty corruption problem such as the mismanagement of the County Development Fund is resolved. According to Robert Sirleaf, son of President Sirleaf, he did not address the practice of grand corruption, including the practice whereby the World Bank (agent for large corporations) writes soft deals for large corporations. Let Brumskine and the Liberty Party embrace unfettered capitalism (free market), which means the government will allocate lucrative assets to profiteers, as it believes part of big business dividends will trickle down and reduce income inequality.
Adviser Brumskine should be aware that attributing lucrative assets to profiteers increases corruption, all because profiteers generally seek higher profits. Moreover, a fully adopted “free market” does not allow the interference of a minority shareholder and, or non-shareholders, whether it is a government that has forged a partnership relationship with employee investors. . More importantly, a minority shareholder status does not create an opportunity for a government to review assumptions, questionable expenses, short and long term plans or business transactions between a salaried investor and its foreign parent company, etc. .
Councilor Brumskine, remember that majority shareholders dictate company policy.
A quick review of budget documents from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, etc. would reveal why non-shareholder status has forced every government to impose higher taxes on imports. Taxes imposed on imports generate about 50% of government revenue, while taxes levied on natural resources are minimal.
Now that Ghana is the new success story of capitalism after Liberia in the 1970s and Kenya in the 2000s, let’s take a look at its budget document to understand why Pope Francis has declared capitalism an unjust economic system. Ghana in 2013 estimated a total income of seventeen billion (17,255,000,000) in Ghanaian currency, of which eight billion (8,236,000,000) or forty-eight percent (47.73%) represented the tax imposed on import. With minimal revenues, Ghana increased its total debt to eighteen billion (18,827,000,000) in 2012 from eleven billion (11,937,000,000) in 2010, an increase of six billion (6,800,000,000). Its interest payment, excluding principal, was three billion (3,194,000,000) or (15.52%) of the total expenditure of twenty billion 20,581,000,000.
Oaky, Liberia, may not be able to collect reasonable taxes from slave investors. But can the government use part of the rents allocated to government offices, for example, to invest in construction of affordable housing, food production, a diamond cutting factory or machinery to add value to our logs? ?
Tempering with capitalism, which has forced the US government to borrow $ 15 trillion, including $ 2 trillion from socialist China, coupled with high unemployment and a growing gap between rich and poor, does not will not reduce poverty. Sound economic policy is needed, which will allow the government to institute a mechanism that will prevent the de facto owners of our resources from creating false assumptions and questionable spending to reduce taxable income, techniques which profiteers use to reduce revenue. of the government.