Death and taxes

By Farah G. Decano


THERE are two things certain in this world – death and taxes.

Nobody lives forever.  We will all pass on through the process called death.  This will bring about the total shutdown of all our vital organs including our hearts and brains.

Taxes are the lifeblood of governments.  They are imposed upon citizens, bodies and activities so that the authorities which are charged with the duty to make our lives comfortable will have the needed resources to operate.

With the trillions of debts incurred by the outgoing Duterte administration, the economic experts are now suggesting the imposition of new taxes, increase in some existing taxes, and the removal of VAT exemptions.

The Filipinos have yet to recover from their losses due to the pandemic.  The war in Ukraine made things worse because prices of diesel and gasoline soared sky-high.  And as if that is all we are facing, our country still has to find the bliss point between importation of fish and local fish production.  Our small fishermen are hurting.  Our businesses are struggling to stay afloat. The lack of confidence by foreign players in our economy has put the stock market on a downward trend.

I hope the incoming administration will temper the imposition of new or higher taxes which may cause another round of inflation.  While this may mean more operational resources for the government, this additional funding, however, may mean debilitating consequences for our country.  One possible aftermath is that parents may no longer be able to afford nutritious food or quality education for their children.

There are other creative means of increasing the financial capacity of our country.  I can think of three: one, is to curb graft and corruption; two, is to improve our efficiency in tax collection; and the third is to allow some projects to be supported by the private sector in a build-operate-transfer scheme.  I wish our economists will put a human face to the numbers they are presently analyzing.  Better yet, add a variable or index to the economic equation which could represent human happiness.

There is no need to overemphasize that the indiscriminate imposition of higher or new taxes by governments is actually a death sentence to its citizens.

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The results of the recent national elections remain an interesting topic among data analysts.  Some are of the opinion that the outcomes do not follow its historical pattern.  The obvious limitation of their study is that they are merely looking at the election results.  The analysts do not go as far as to pinpoint with certainty the reason why there was a deviation from the normal pattern.  For them to say officially that there was cheating based on the uncanny results is precipitous.  We await more analyses and compare these with other forensic studies on the elections.

 We hope that more of these studies will surface so that we can improve our democratic processes.  As a Filipino who never missed any election, I want the processes to be secure so that the sacredness of my vote will be preserved.  The ballot is my voice.  If there was some improbable result from the processes, then let the experts discuss the matter with the authorities and the public.   The public deserves to know.

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