Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Intense Cyclones Didn’t Destroy Our Resilience

Meet Something A Lot Better Than the Gini Coefficient

It’s called share of income growth. It looks at how the increase in GDP over a given period has been distributed among the different income groups. The clip below shows what happened after a most regressive policy was adopted. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Savings-Killer Misses Elephant in the Room

In April 2017 Sithanen said that the tram express would be a financial disaster because it would fail to cover costs and saddle future generations with debt. This was kind of funny for the bean-counter to say because as the chart shows government has had a revenue shortfall in all the years since 2006 which is the year he implemented his economic snake oil aka flat tax – there’s a flat-tax-related deficit as soon as growth is lower than the promised 8%.

In fact as from 2013 the revenue deficit caused by his regressive tax policies had grown big enough to fully pay for at least one 19-billion-rupee tram every single year – two as from 2016 and three as from last year. So in total there’s enough government money missing over the past fourteen years to pay for at least 10 trams (15 when you add the figures for the first seven years and the sums left over in the other seven).

In the meantime central government budgetary debt has risen by Rs172bn over the same period without any major national problems getting solved. I wonder if future generations will enjoy the terrible mess we’re in as much as we are.

It’s great we’re voting soon. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Who’s Got the Best Road Safety Record?

At an average of 151 road fatalities per year in office – fraction of year in office greater than half is attributed the full year – Navin Ramgoolam has the worst record (see 1). Barely better is Pravind Jugnauth. Bérenger is roughly between SAJ and PJ. The best is SSR. He would have had about 178 fewer deaths than SAJ had his prime ministership been five years longer. The two Ramgoolams have stints in office of the same length but NR’s tally is 424 higher. This is rather bad given all the progress that has been made in the field of road safety for the past three decades. And we have to remember that personal computers were not as ubiquitous before 1982 as they’ve been for the past twenty years.

Chart 2 confirms how much we’ve fallen behind Singapore. While she has seen the total number of road deaths fall decade after decade Mauritius has seen her numbers increase by 40% in the second decade and literally stay flat for the next two. This has caused the gap between our totals to narrow substantially and it might even disappear by the end of next year. Which would be another source of embarrassment for us given that our population is about four and half times lower. But the next decade can be a lot better if we do two things. One is to ask candidates currently seeking our votes how they intend to bring these numbers down fast. The other is to assess the credibility of these plans. 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Riptir, Nuvo Palab Ramgoolam

Ramgoolam pan konvink buku dimun dernye sinq banane ki lin sanze apres sa siro zanana li ti gayne an 2014-la. Li pan tarde pu pas den staz kot li ti pe dir ki lin fer lerer a en lot kot li dir ki elekter pena lespri. An dot mo ki nu ban gopia. Kav li panse ki nu amnezik si parski lin reamen Sithanen, bug kin kas lekonomi, tuy sevings, ek fer en ta lezot kuyonad kuma stimilis pakeg ek depresye rupi. Li anvi tuy nu sistem electoral usi. Devet samem riptir Ramgoolam: kontinye kraz partu kuma ant 2005 ek 2014.

Sithanen trakase ek buku kitsoz i konpri inegalite. Be anu tiek en kut kin arive par gato nasyonal ban diferan klas menaz sak fwa ki li fin minis. 

Friday, October 11, 2019

How Navin Narrowly Avoided Defeat in 2010

After bagging a historic victory in July 2005 – the first time one of the three big parties beat the other two – on the promise of democratising the economy and Putting People First, Ramgoolam’s second mandate rapidly turns into a nightmare. Rupee slides, rich made to pay the same low tax rate of the poor, our basic welfare state is tampered with, the savings culture is destroyed, doors are wide open to allow foreign investments to quash the dreams of thousands of Mauritians to become homeowners and unfair labour laws are passed. The situation is so bad that the then PM has to give another Presidential mandate to SAJ as well as help get the current PM elected before negotiating an alliance with the MSM. 

But the damage done by Sithanen and Mansoor is so large that Ramgoolam has no choice but to also dump the toxic bean-counter. Luckily for him the opposition makes a series of mistakes and this enables him to stay in power by winning 49.7% of the votes against 42% or as the chart shows by a margin of about 150,000 votes. Had Ramgoolam given Sithanen a ticket in 2010 he would probably have lost as the bean-counter would have set back his side by 100,000 votes. It’s no coincidence either that Berenger didn’t invite Sithanen to join his alliance. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Breaking Down the 2014 Electoral Defeat

We use the 543,667 votes shortfall that would have generated a 60-0 victory for the LP/MMM alliance and combine it with the five reasons we identified for the loss. If we assume that they were equally important that is bringing Sithanen back had the same effect as a dose of proportional representation (PR) or the Rs540bn GDP shortfall – aka Sithanen Toohrooh (ST) – caused by the ruinous Sithanen flat tax that had accumulated by the end of 2014 then each one of these factors set the losing alliance back by 108,733 votes. To get a sense of these numbers we need to remember that Pravind Jugnauth lost by 38 votes in 2005 while Navin Ramgoolam tasted defeat because of 3,496 votes in 2014.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Why Savings Collapsed Despite Surviving Three Intense Cyclones

Essentially because a bean-counter started taxing bank interest as he needed to find other sources of government revenue after he reduced top tax rates before flattening the tax structure to 15%. The flat tax was supposed to generate growth rates of 8% every year since 2006 but as we’ve clipped rates far lower than this – 2019 will be the ninth year they are under 4% – savings, as expected, have never recovered. 

As the chart shows this is very different from the rebound we experienced after Danielle, Gervaise and Claudette visited us. Removing the battery of exemptions that a whole nation had used to patiently craft their long-term financial plans over several decades and the record inequality the unsustainable and crazy tax policies created didn’t help either  But there was more than injury.