It was only on 24 December that The Dictator was reported as demanding that populism be eradicated. He then called on “[u]pper- and middle income people … to come out and vote if they want to stop parties pitching populist policies to the poor from regaining office…”.
On 25 December, the same self-proclaimed premier, General Prayuth Chan-ocha came up with a new giveaway. His collection of mainly middle-class populist policies have been set out in color by the Bangkok Post, in a graphic reproduced at the end of this post.
The new 15,000 baht tax deduction for purchases is alone is estimated to cost the state 5 billion baht. At a quick glance, we reckon that this list of populist giveaways and reductions must be costing as much as three times that 5 billion baht.
Prayuth and his anti-democrat cronies and allies used to call such “populist” programs “policy corruption.” What do they call it when they are the ones ladling it out and benefiting? Charity by and for “good” people? We have called it repressive populism.