20 July 2010

Weird Tales: Islamabad-Washington



Apparently
it has been a long standing policy of the Obama administration to raise taxes in Pakistan.
"In early February, US Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin demanded that Pakistan impose a Value Added Tax and raise Capital Gains Taxes. Pakistan promptly complied, even though this meant the resignation of their Finance Minister, who had disagreed with the policy."

"Days after the announcement Secretary Clinton was demanding that Pakistan again raise taxes precipitously and use it to “increase spending on health care and education.” This will likely again be a topic of Clinton’s visit, in between demands to launch ever more aggressive military offensives against the tribal areas to their north."
How surreal is this? This is not being done under the auspices of the IMF and for the purpose of extorting repayment of loans mind you. It is being done out of belief it will improve Pakistani society.

Never mind the logic of benefiting someone by ratcheting up his tax burden (I am sure Pakistanis were leaping with joy at the thought of paying VAT, and at the behest of a foreign government no less), when did running Pakistan enter the job description of US presidents? And what is the purpose of elections in Pakistan if their tax rates are going to be set from Washington?

Let me get this straight. The US pressured Pervez Musharaff to in 2008 permit general election and then forced him out of power, reintroducing democracy to Pakistan which was to help usher in an era of ice cream and candy (as elections do, right?). Except that this new democratic government the Pakistanis got to elect is not even the government that sets the tax rate for Pakistan. How much of an improvement is this?

I do not know that Neal Wolin and Hillary Clinton won any more Pakistani votes at any democratic (US approved) elections than Musharaff had. The only difference is that they are foreigners and have therefore even less business running the country.

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