Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Two Extra Dumb Reasons We Need Party Lists

One is that if there's a party that gets the most votes but not a majority of the seats that could be a "recipe for political riots and civil unrest". Voters in Mauritius don't give two hoots about vote share. They just pick the best candidates in every riding. Doesn't matter if they're from three different parties. And the party which elects the most candidates forms government. That's it. Of course a party can grab power without getting the most votes. That's definitely possible given how the number of voters in our constituencies vary. In 2014 the largest (No.14) was 2.71X bigger than the smallest (No.3). But we couldn't care less.

Besides the recipe for riots and unrest is well known: poverty and inequality. Like we saw one spring six or seven years ago across North Africa and the Middle East and next door. We even had a former Minister in Tunisia at that time who had to stay indoors because of what was happening on the streets. It didn't look like the people were mad because they had trouble grasping how the D'Hondt method works.

The second mari dumb reason is that an electoral system is fair when it "ensures that the top guns of the parties are returned to the Assembly... On the other hand, the public would have considerable difficulties to understand constituency elections without the participation of these stalwarts; such contests would lose some of its “panache” and legitimacy [emphasis mine]."

So 22,000 people thrown into poverty over five years, record inequality, savings at a 30-year low and a trillion-rupee GDP gap because of a stupid and low 15% flat tax is panache? And we should return the massively incompetent and the toxic? The mess of the trickle-down garbage was big enough that no major party wanted to take the oversized and unnecessary risk of having the outgoing Finance Minister as their candidate in 2010. Which was a first. And he didn't even run as an independent candidate. Didn't get elected four and half years later either. That too after changing for a 'safe' riding.

God bless the FPTP.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Robben is World's Fastest Footballer

He clocked 37km/h when he scored that magnificent goal against Spain in the 2014 World Cup. Which is slightly less than the average speed of 37.58km/h of one Usain Bolt in the fastest 100m ever. Except that this includes reaction time of the giant and it's the average speed. In fact the top speed reached by Mr. Bolt during that record-shattering dash is 44.72km/h. Of course that makes it the fastest any member of our species has travelled using his own legs.

But quite slow compared to speeds Cheetahs reach routinely. Doesn't mean they can't be friends though.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Fifteen Years Later FN Again At Run-off Stage

But this time France is not shocked that the candidate from the far-right survived the first round of the presidential elections. Or that the two parties which have dominated the political scene as far back as people can remember are out of the race. Ms. Le Pen received about 4.5% more votes than her father Jean-Marie did when he beat Lionel Jospin by a little more than half a percentage point. Only to lose massively to Jacques Chirac by the biggest margin ever: 82%-18%.

This time it doesn't look that clear-cut though.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Terror Attack Ends Election Campaign A Day Earlier

For at least three of the four main candidates says the BBC. There were two major attacks during the last American Presidential election campaign: the December 2015 San Bernardino shooting where fourteen people died and the Orlando nightclub attack which claimed the lives of 49 people and happened a few months before Uncle Sam voted.

Unions Wonder if Layoffs Linked to Hidden Agenda

That's not the only thing they're wondering about. They are also asking themselves if it's not time to ask for the resignation of Ivan Collendavelloo.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Soornack Says Her Hard Work Paid Off

Breaking Down The Sithanen Toohrooh

At Rs297 billion Xavier-Luc Duval accounts for the biggest share of the almost trillion-rupee GDP gap which accumulated over the 11 years ending last December. That's a couple of billions shy of our 2010 GDP. Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo is in second place with Rs227 billion which was generated over around fifteen months. Pravind Jugnauth is in third position with a Rs195 billion gap which also accumulated over fifteen months but he is set to capture the pole position by end of June when another Rs125 billion will be added to his running total.

Rama Sithanen, the father of massively regressive policies, is in fourth with only Rs85 billion because although he was there for the longest period among the six finance ministers the disease hadn't gathered enough momentum as it would in later years. That's how compounding works, right? This point can be illustrated by the GDP deficit generated on Navin Ramgoolam's watch: Rs79 billion although he was Finance Minister (FM) for only seven months. This puts him in fifth position and SAJ is last with Rs44 billion.

If you want to know how much revenue is missing you just have to multiply these numbers by 15% to 20% depending on the growth rates you assume the economy has to generate when you mess around with the tax rates. Finally a rough estimate of Ali Mansoor's share -- he promised back in 2006 to implement Bretton Woods policies that work -- would be the sum of the first three numbers.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Polls Are Back After A Long Time

We've got three for you:

1. If Collendavelloo is sacked by the Prime Minister who will not follow him in the opposition?

2. Should the President step down?

3. How satisfied are you with the overall performance of Lepep since December 2014?

Happy voting!!!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lalit Explains Non-Productive Invesments

Once you build a villa on agricultural land it will not generate employment like an agricultural village will. And we're not even talking how it will put real estate out of reach to large swathes of our population. They also mentioned that the major political parties are all the same. I'd go further: the LP and MSM have let Mauritius down by pursuing regressive policies as from 2006 after the MMM did so a long time ago.

They also called for the President to step down. They are not the only ones.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Net Reacts to United's New Customer Experience

Watch Theodorine Spoof Hit

The multi-talented humorist who was also a down-to-earth policeman died 25 years ago. We learn that he really liked a song from Upkar. And did it several times. Tried to look for it on YouTube. Isn't it great to live in Mauritius and be exposed to so many things?

But we need to get back to basics.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Why Mauritius Has No Money For Capital Budgets

It's not really because of the capital projects undertaken by the previous Government namely the new airport terminal and the ring road. And the sums that may be needed to rehabilitate them. The main reason is the regressive flat tax and the extensive damage that has been done to the economy to keep it at 15%. There was 927 billion of GDP missing at the end of 2016 -- aka the Sithanen toohrooh -- and if we assume that government would have reduced its revenue as a share of GDP to 15% it's missing 139 billion rupees. If it kept it at 20% then there's 185 billion rupees of government revenue missing.

What can you buy with Rs185 billion? Something like the Dubai metro or the one considered by the city which pioneered the bus rapid transit (BRT). But we don't need that kind of metro although we should have been able to afford it were it not for a massive ministerial skills mismatch. We don't need a scaled down version of the Metro Leger either simply because the flat tax has placed our public finances on an unsustainable track. There are better and urgent ways of handling the traffic Frankenstein.

Even more urgent is to restore some sanity to our public finances. Not a bad idea as how can Lepep deliver an economic miracle in year 4 when it cannot organically generate money for capital budgets 12 months before?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Trickle-down Economics Doesn't Work

What You Can Learn From the Audit Report

In 2014 MT paid Rs671 million as dividends to government. Which means that it paid Rs447 million to FT. That's almost five times the dividend paid by Airports of Mauritius. And close to eight times the one paid by SBM Holdings in the same year. MT dividend paid only Rs221 million in dividends in FY ending June 2016.

One quarter of government revenue came from debt in 2014 -- one fifth by mid-2016. Which explains why the Sithanen toohrooh has gotten so big. As if we needed more proof that the bean-counter has been a financial disaster. Public sector debt (PSD) stood at a quarter trillion rupees at end of June 2015. Two-thirds of the domestic portion of that debt was due by mid 2019. Public Debt Management Act has its own way of computing debt as a share of GDP. PSD increased to Rs275 billion by June 2016. On dit merci qui?

Consolidated Fund has a deficit of Rs52 billion. Hmm, must be the early harvest.

I stopped at page 62 of the report. Here are posts on previous editions. And here's one from Singapore.

Monday, April 3, 2017

FPTP is a Special Kind of PR System

One that comes with a majority prize. It's a great system as it generates stable government after stable government. This has enabled Mauritius to achieve what it has. Its disadvantage is that a few times the prize may get too big. As we've seen in 1982, 1991, 1995 and 2000. But on the first three of those occasions the alliances did not last very long: between nine and twenty-one months. Which means that our first-past-the-post (FPTP) system saved us from going to vote a number of times because it's not a system which is vote wise and outcome foolish. Plus there are smart ways of correcting the most extreme of its scenarios without resorting to totally undemocratic devices like party lists that would rob voters of an important weapon: the final word to dump a politician.

Adding PR seats to our FPTP setup is not an alternative as we've seen what happened in Rodrigues election after election. It will eat away the stability that the majority prize provides and which is necessary for governments to operate properly. Besides our parliament is already too big. 

A couple of European jokes capture well how lucky we are to have the FPTP system here:

What is European paradise?
British parliamentary system (FPTP)
German engineering
French cuisine
Italian romance

And European hell?
Italian parliamentary system (PR)
French engineering
British cuisine
German romance

Britain has had 20 governments in 100 years. Italy, 20 governments in 5 years.

In fact Italy has had 62 governments between 1946 and 2013. But you get the point.