Thursday, April 1, 2010

Damnit Poor People

Why I Wrote This:

I understand it's not people's fault that they are poor; even if it actually is.... lazy uneducated scum bags. Maybe if you took that loan the bank offered and used fertilizer & pesticides to develop your tiny paddy field you'd have increased your yield and not been stuck on subsistence farming like your family has for the last fifty generations.

Maybe if you had thought through why you were moving to the 'big city' as opposed to believing that in the big city everyone was so rich that even your idiot lazy cousin has his own time check to see if he's a rickshaw driving Cabbie loon!

Poor people make countries (like Pakistan) look bad (particularly in numerical terms); do you see col awesome documentaries on rich people in developing countries, nope news outlets find the most crappy section of the almost perfect nation and then dig for stories and shoot their coverage from there. 

Did you know that estimated 40% of Pakistani's live below the poverty line...nope, and that's like 80 million folks....what about the remaining 60%, the majority that do manage to get make ends meet....what are we? Chopped liver and hence un-newsworthy?

So the primary question for most governments is...What do we do with all of the poor people?

Since their proposal suck (as breaks for poor people doesn't make sense if they don't pay taxes in the first place geniuses), I have a few ideas. 

1. Redefine Poor...Statistically: Make them less poor, re-evaluate the 'poverty line'; yes can debate on how fair or unfair it is, but it's an easy fix solution and governments do it all the time. It is a considerable achievement to reduce the number of poor people without creating any jobs or general economic growth for that matter. 

2. Fake Tax Returns: Lets just generate about 20-30 million fake tax returns and the write off the amounts due as 'unrecoverable'....due to wide ranging protest over the United States intervention in Afghanistan or something believable like that....Western countries love peaceful disobedience protests. 

3. Organ donations: I'm sure their poor peoples body parts are worth just money as money as rich peoples. The market for kidneys, blood etc are all worth $Billions, these impoverished folk can also be use for medical testing projects. They can use the revenue to educate themselves or just throw an amazing rave and hire DJ Tiesto to perform. The number of 'tourists' alone would be terrific for the 'kidnap rich white people' business.

4. Export Adoption: We'll make it unbelievable easy for people to come to Pakistan to adopt kids...however, there are some ..ahem...fees involved. Can we get some baby loving NGO's here? Doing this properly with a concerted publicity drive and eventually Madonna or Angelina will adopt a few of the little rascals and then the flood gates will open. If they don't we can simply claim that white folk are racist against Pakistanis....

'What are our impoverished kids not cute enough?' we can't plastic surgery at a young age is a terrible thing...we'll just sell their non-essential organs. Till we can exploit them in some other way...Camel Jockeys. Perfect.

5. Poor People Are Thin: They are skinny enough to be lets make them into models; just throw on a little makeup, teach them some basic English words and maybe a little plastic surgery to cover up the cracks and everyone will applaud the future rags to riches story....the government will obviously keep a cut of all future recoup their investment....and pay for some gold plated Jumbo Jets. We're Fly, 50 Cent ain't go nothing on us..

6. Government Jobs: The good old government can afford to hire more people (they always seem to after an election). They can make these newly inducted poor folk do things like staff the govt. agencies and specialize in tasks like having a dedicated chap to operate the fans via a cycle (prudently save electricity).

Create a human protective circle around each government officers important expensive car and run with them as they are driven, the savings from accidents and distinct lack of insurance premium, would pay for itself. Train these destitutes to operate blackberries and various brands of cell phones and have them man these devices for their illiterate bosses. All personal assistants are to get personal assistants. In another words, the government will hire anything with a pulse and find them any innate task to smile maybe. Professional Greeters.

 The increase in an officials entourage would greatly add efficiency to that senior public servant, particularly once he discovers that the internet isn't just for porn.

In case the government doesn't want to hire them, just hire people on the books and process payment to their favored swiss bank me, I'm a banker, it'll work.

7. Pieces of Land: Give it to them, Pakistani's love the idea of being land owners, no matter how useless the land is. So I say the sitting government maximize the political benefits and do it Zimbawe style; they got rid of the rich white folk and gave their land to poor black wannabe farmers..(Note: That didn't work out so well for them, the country almost starved to death).

So in Pakistani terms, we tell the poor masses that the land belonging to a rival faction is being 'gifted' to the people. First come first served. Real Poor people own nothing, they'll get to their desired location in minutes family in tow, ready to start tilling.

They'll squat on that territory so fast, the rooster won't realize that all the hens were last nights dinner. The rival faction will be pissed, but those unlucky buggers will be outnumbered. Political Genius

8. Reallocate Them: Sell them and Send them abroad: Send them where ever someone can find them the boat full mind you. They work really cheap, particularly once sold as indentured labor; Screw the UN Charters, and they'll send back foreign exchange through remittances....besides Slavery wasn't a fad, it's a classic and  it's going to make a comeback...I'm telling you! Particularly with the number of poor folk, it's economical. The revenues and savings alone can help build us our own Space Shuttles (80 million is a lot of people).

In the long run this can be part of the nations foreign expansion plan....have our poor peoples over populate other countries and then take over through democratic means....I love democracy. Why not export it humanely?

9. Proper Ad Campaigns: Make them advertise themselves better, get some funny entertaining signs while begging for alms, their revenues will shoot up and voila they won't be poor anymore.

FYI: It's a misnomer to consider professional beggars to be poor by any stretch of the imagine, I've done the math and they make more money by begging than most people with decent jobs...AND THE LITTLE SHITS MAKE IT TAX FREE!!!

10. Pretend they don't exist: What Poor People? Plausible deniability (mostly) works for Mossad, CIA, MI6 etc. I project a 100% chance of Success.

The Big Idea:

Developing Nations have more than their own share of poor people, and one can make the argument that it's a part of the teething process, but to be fair, that's hardly going to make a poor person feel better about his predicament.

We could just make them less poor, but that would require economic growth or something like that. Investments hard to come by, human capital is cheap, after all, we keep spouting out the little suckers. So why bother, lets just gloss over it as we tend to. A defeatist attitude hasn't hurt us yet...oh wait. oops.

We can be rich in life as we strive and are lucky enough to be, but end of the day, we all die poor.  Just something to think about the next time we see someone less fortunate than ourselves lying in the street begging for help.


Amna K said...

Considerate and (Awesome).

Amna K said...

Two weeks back, a fire broke out in Shanti Nagar, a slum in Karachi. About 300 Shanties, i.e. shelter for the poor, destroyed. Around 3000 people left homeless. How do you deal with the poor in such situations? Damnit?

Anonymous said...

This is vicious satire Murtaza. Maybe the best yet, although it's got a lot of competition! And I'm not using the 'A' word in case you start to believe it. Love Alec

Amna K said...

*raising my hand* Oh I believe it!! :-D

Alpha Za said...

@ Amna: Thank you for your comments and support, I'm glad you find it awesome, the impact on my ego is intense.

As for the 3000 Shanti Nagar folk, You give them a power point presentation on why playing with fire is bad. In addition to promising to help them (which you never will), whilst simultaneously selling the land to Black Water and using the money to buy some property in Monaco. If their is an outrage, blame the fire on Blackwater and pretend they never paid you.

@ Alec: Haha, I'm glad you enjoyed it. If it's the best yet, I believe it deserves due credit!

Yusra said...

I like the way you think. Really.

yusra said...

I like the way you think. Really.

Alpha Za said...

@ Yusra: Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

Bina Khan said...


I just wanted to clear up one little thing about the poor. Or rather I would like to discuss the opinion that you expressed on The Tribune's website about a statement I made about VAT. In an article where rather rich people were bitching about paying taxes, I was the one person who said:

" “They don’t go feeding the poor with our tax money. VAT will make no difference to that. I believe nobody is reliable and answerable. Where is this money going, after taxing the rich? Thank goodness, for once they are not taxing the poor!” Khan also believes that focus needs to be on other problems, “I am not an economist – what do I know about inflation dropping or not – but I believe our country is going through much larger problems than this VAT.”

Your response?

"Tax money doesn’t all go to feeding the poor, regardless of how you feel about how the money is spent, you still have an obligation as a Pakistani business to pay it. Btw, it is fairer to tax the rich versus the poor. It’s statements like that, that make the rich seem out of touch and just plain despicable. "

a) I pay my taxes, thank you very much. Have done so since the moment I had enough money to warrant a tax return. I do not complain about it, nor have I complained about VAT here. I am also pretty clear on my obligations and I meet them with pride.

b) However, I am always sorry to see that we do not insist that our taxes go towards better state health care and education or the like, as opposed to buying some politico's kid a new Land Cruiser. Or even more repulsive, a Land Cruiser for their kid's guards to follow behind the kid's Land Cruiser.

c) You should not let your proclivity for a rant blind you to what someone is actually saying. Read the words again slowly. Since I am quoted as saying "Thank Goodness, for once they are not taxing the poor" I think I have worked out that it is fairer to tax the rich. Look at that, and I got there all on my own!

With an aim to being elegantly behaved, I will refrain from expressing my opinion about you and your statements, and far from calling you "just plain despicable", I will simply say that you clearly spent more time composing your comment than you did reading the article.


Alpha Za said...

Hi Bina,

Thanks for your response, I really respect that you did. You did seem to stand apart from your competitors and for that you ought to be applauded.

Now to clear a few things up, I'm actually fairly privileged myself, so I tend to fit in that 'plain despicable' category that you seem to have taken to heart. With Comments such as

"Pivot Point’s Daulat Rahimtoola, who is one of the pioneers in the salon services industry said, “On what grounds does the government intend to put this Value Added Tax on us? The country itself is not a luxurious country, we barely make ends meet. We live from hand-to-mouth and now they want to take away what is going into our mouth.”

Now, I'm not personally familiar with Pivot Point due to my outstanding loyalty to Clippers, but when rather wealthy owners of high end Salons are complaining about taxes reducing their margins, then the negative perception of our slice of society widens.

A: I'm extremely glad that you've always paid your taxes, it's a wonderful thing and you should be proud of it. The few, the proud, the honest Pakistani Tax Payer.

Rich Tax v Poor Tax: I was referring to Mr. Shahzad in his 'It's not fair of the govt. to impose Vat on us) Comment Editing error on ET part I imagine.

My comment relating to Vat was focused on the other owners who seem to have huge concerns about the VAT tax.

B: However, you sounded a bit naive when your comment opened up with ' They don’t go feeding the poor with our tax money.' (actually it does somewhat) The government is responsible for a range of services, not just better health care, education etc, which I agree we need more off. But our obligation as citizens extend to paying our taxes and electing a government that spends them for the general benefit. I don't like seeing tax payer funded Land Cruisers either, but as far as I'm concern God will square that deal when he comes to it. In the end we are all accountable for our own actions. Attempting to justify not paying taxes because we democratically elect politicians who misspend doesn't cut it.

C: I write a satire blog, trust me ranting is what I do. btw, again I wasn't referring to your comments. Your fellow owners with revenues over 7.5mn do seem to have a problem with taxing their fairly prosperous businesses.

You are quite elegantly behaved, and deserve to be applauded for such, but perhaps you should take into account that all in all, I don't have a problem with what you in particular said.

btw, I am an Economist. we have massive problems, but VAT is a fairly useful tool in helping us narrow the massive deficits we run. After all, it's functioned well in notoriously corrupt India. If you want to question to effectiveness of VAT, you ought to question if it'll actually increase taxes or not as opposed to how the money is eventually spent, as you yourself pointed out, we have massive problems the require money.

Thanks for visiting,


Bina Khan said...

Glad we cleared that up.

Oh and though I may be naive (hey, bimbo with a brush here) I am cynical enough to feel like divine retribution is not really going to cut it, nor is any governement policy, tax (value added or otherwise) or democracy. As a tax payer, I believe it is my patriotic duty to grumble about corruption, and since I have been a stunned victim of extortion I have had all my optimism knocked out of me. Plus I am crushed by guilt and I often feel like any success achieved is hollow because everything has been handed to me on a silver platter; if you screw up your life coming from such privilege (education, exposure, support) you are really a moron.

So I opened a up a salon and tried to make some people happy instead. Hey, it may be a bubble, but its my bubble and I will make it as shiny, as pretty and as honest as possible. However much that may be and for whatever that is worth.

Alpha Za said...

I'm glad we cleared that up too.

haha, a bimbo with a brush wouldn't be running a stunningly successful parlor like yourself, nice try.

As tax payers we all have a right, and perhaps even the duty to grumble about corruption, after all, it's our money they're stealing, but it doesn't mean that the money shouldn't be made available for the greater good, even if it's looted. we need better leaders even more than we need honest taxpayers. There aren't enough Mustapha Kamals out there, but when they do come along, you do want them to have the tools to achieve great things.

I don't find it hard to believe at all that you've been targeted for extortion, it's always the successful ones, but it sucks.

haha, I know how you feel about your expectations theory, I call it the Rich Heir Complex, from those who are given much, much is expected. If you don't deliver you may as well be the cliche drug addict perpetually languishing in rehab. We don't make very good rags to riches success stories... particular when the rags come with tags that say 'Armani'.

As long as your Salon/Bubble makes you happy and your customers keep coming back, keep being that entrepreneur/Bubble Queen! Pakistan can use more of them. Doing what makes you happy is never a crime, particularly when it makes others happy. Doing it honestly and paying taxes is rather nice too.