Drunken sailors and soldiers

2 02 2018

In seeking to bolster its “popularity” and electoral appeal, the military dictatorship is spending like a ship full of drunken sailors (well, a massage parlor full of soldiers).

The Nation reports that the Agriculture, Interior and other ministries will shortly begin spending 47 billion baht on The Dictator’s “Thai Niyom” development program That’s about 670,000 baht for every village and community in the country. We are always pleased to see funds flow to the poor but this looks more like a hastily cobbled together vote buying program seemingly developed just in the past few weeks (or the time of the Deputy Dictator’s luxury watch problems). If Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra parties could be accused of populism for programs that were taken to the electorate, what’s this large bucket of money?

Another program has had longer term planning. It also involves a heck of a lot more taxpayer loot: almost 1 trillion baht. The Bangkok Post reports that the junta’s cabinet “has approved 168 infrastructure development projects worth a combined 989 billion baht for its flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme.”

Interestingly, the military is in for its cut. The report observes: “government spending will account for 30%, with public-private partnerships making up 59%, state-owned enterprises 10% and the Royal Thai Army 1%.” The junta has stuffed state enterprises with its cronies. The navy isn’t listed, but it has a project in this scheme as well. Almost all of this investment (minus commissions and cuts) will be shoveled into formerly pro-Puea Thai Party electoral districts.

Such spending is calculated to bring electoral and popularity gains for soldiers who will fill their pockets along the way. More luxury watches?



%d bloggers like this: