Thailand

Fiscal Stimulation

i’ve seen some memes scroll by dismaying the proposed sending of stimulus checks to everyone out of fear about the freeloaders getting something they don’t deserve. Unaware, it seems, that freeloaders don’t come with a stamp on their heads to distinguish them from the others among us who may need some help and are hurting for not freeloading reasons. 

Or unaware that a main goal is to inject some money into the economy in a feel good sort of way, thus stimulating the economy.  

Trickling down maybe only works when the ground is tilted. Those at the high end, buffeted by life’s headwinds can be left high and dry. 

It’s hard, I guess, to see someone they think is undeserving, get something nice. Even if you get the same thing. Even if the end goal is to just a way to put some capital into the system. 

I share some of the view, though.  Random fiscal ejaculation as a crisis intervention seems rather inexact, and has puzzled me as a rather messy way out of a problem.  

I recall my first time was after 9/11/2001. I received USD600.00 just prior to taking a trip to France, so I stimulated myself with red wine and Freedom Fries there. It didn’t seem very patriotic, but that was some really good wine. 

Spawn of S.A.M. arrive here in December having just received the most recent injection. They’ve peppered it throughout Thailand.  Lord knows, the Thais could use it.  If things go as predicted, they’ll pump their next deposit into New Zealand in a couple months. 

Like, I said.  Messy. Inexact. And off the mark if one is aiming for America First. 

They’ve come up with a novel stimulus here in Thailand. 

BANGKOK, THAILAND – JANUARY 9, 2012: Local man stands behind his street food cart on Khao San Road. Everyday thousands of tourists and locals buys food on these carts and stalls.

This is small business. And businesses like this are everywhere. For a few hundred bucks and some time-tested recipes, you can be on the road and in slinging mangos on the closest empty street corner. 

In a CoVID pressured, rapidly-shrinking economy, the government here has a great interest in keeping the small businesses going. So, they asked software developers to design an app for cell phones. 

The app acts as an interface between buyers and vendors. The government has designed a stimulus package where the government will foot 50 percent of the bill at any enrolled vendor (with limits, of course). The customer pays the balance.

So, customers get half off their bill. Vendors get the business they need. And, the government can inject money into the economy nationwide, that stays in the country. They can control the amount in a more organized fashion. I think there is a daily limit per customer. Or, at least a limit at each vendor. 

It is wildly popular and all a vendor needs is a cell phone, which I suppose could restrict folks, but a basic smartphone is within reach of most.  Money goes directly to the vendors.

One other downside is that it is open only for Thais. The rest of us stimulate at full price.

Categories: Thailand

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