Thursday, March 10, 2011

PO: The worst of all parties

Civic Platform (PO) top dog Donald Tusk, the prime minister, has been giving the message that if the "elite" doesn't like the PO and its current fiscal and economic policies, there's much worse out there. 'If you think we're bad on reform, just wait till you see Law and Justice (PiS) or the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD),' he seems to be saying. Tusk adds that if the elites and heretofore PO backers don't be careful, the PO will so weak for the October general elections, it could actually lose.

PiS did not directly destroy the economy or public finances when it held the reins in 2005-07, but surely its decisions -- helped by the PO sometimes -- did precisely weaken public finances to the state in which the pension reform had to be rolled back, as it will be soon. PiS cut taxes relatively radically but did nothing to lower spending to adapt the budget to the new reality. Nay, it added spending obligations. Would it really deal with the matter any better these days? I doubt it, particularly since most of its prescriptions for the recent crisis were to jack up spending.

The SLD's reign in 2001-05 was sleazy, but on public finances the party's government with the Polish Peasants' Party (PSL) (for most of that period) wasn't bad. However, most of the former pragmatic leftist economists like Marek Belka and Dariusz Rosati and Jerzy Hausner have left. SLD skipper Grzegorz Napieralski is more leftist and would likely take his party well to the left of where the PO is today. Symbolic taxes for the rich, anyone?

The PSL, the PO's current junior ruling coalition partner, has been flexing its leftist/populist muscles of late as well. Its policy ideals seem closer to the SLD's than to the PO's. Thankfully, it will never be able to broaden its support from the 3-8% range and with luck the party will disappear.

PJN, aka 'PiS light,' did publish some good ideas regarding the economy, but to some degree they seemed too good to be true. Do these former PiS members really support what was a very liberal reform agenda? I have my doubts. Ex-PO leading member Janusz Palikot, the jester of Polish politics, has not said much on the economy. But he seems to be having trouble making the transition from clown to serious politician. Both parties will have to strain just to make the next parliament, let alone affect policy.

Thus, if democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others, and capitalism is the worst way to organise economically, except for all the others, the PO is clearly the worst Polish political party, except for all the others.

1 comment:

  1. Top dog? going through the thesaurus, are we? Jk, good points, good post.