CIELITO F. HABITO
NO FREE LUNCH: Shrunken spending
December 01, 2020
For three successive quarters now, production and incomes have fallen from their year-ago levels, and by all indications, this year's final quarter will see yet another similar contraction. People had hoped that with the worst lockdowns over, the third quarter (Q3) numbers could have been better than the still deep contraction (-11.5 percent) the Philippine Statistics Authority reported. The economy is down, and the simple reason is people not spending money as they normally do, leading to much lower demand for our goods and services-the demand that leads producers to produce in the first place. To better appreciate what's happening, let's take a closer look at our economy's demand side-that is, those doing the spending in the economy. There are four groups who buy goods and services in any economy: (1) consumers or households; (2) producers (farms and firms), who must buy goods and services in order to operate or raise capacity to produce even more; (3) government, which buys various goods and services in order to operate, respond to people's needs, and build and repair public infrastructure; and (4) foreigners, who buy our products when we export to their countries, or when they come and visit us.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/135760/shrunken-spending
NO FREE LUNCH: When working together works
November 24, 2020
Those of us in Metro Manila and Calabarzon were spared from Supertyphoon "Rolly's" worst fury, through what many believe was yet another proof of prayer power. But make no mistake: Rolly badly debilitated the Bicol Region with maximum sustained winds of 225 kilometers per hour and gusts well exceeding 300 kph, making it the most powerful typhoon in the country this year, and indeed the world. Along with wide and heavy damage to homes, properties, and crops, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) counted 59 power transmission towers downed or damaged by Rolly when it hit on Nov. 1.
Read more: https://www.rappler.com/voices/thought-leaders/analysis-when-will-wehttps://opinion.inquirer.net/135
[OPINION] When will we ever learn?
November 18, 2020
Last Thursday, thousands of beleaguered Metro Manilans were shoveling layers of mud off their living room floors when pictures from the Cagayan Valley began appearing on their social media sites. As in Marikina, they saw northern fellow sufferers perched high on rooftops awaiting rescue from the three-meter-high inundation.
Television screens captured dramatic scenes of men and women pushing through chest-high floods, carrying a child or a valued household item on their head or shoulders. Anything that could float became a makeshift boat - from surfboards to styrofoam containers to door-less refrigerators. The luckier among affected Metro Manila residents only had to contend with the loss of water, electricity, and internet. Predictably, the much-touted Filipino resilience was hailed as our saving grace, but angry voices rejected that as government's excuse for its failure to respond appropriately.
Why is this happening? Yet again?
Read more: https://www.rappler.com/voices/thought-leaders/analysis-when-will-we-ever-learn
NO FREE LUNCH: A pivot to China
November 17, 2020
Something momentous happened over the weekend that signals the continuing shift of the world's economic fulcrum to Asia-Pacific away from North America, dominated by the United States. Fifteen economies comprising about a third of the world's population and of the global economy signed a trade agreement that formalizes what is now the world's largest trading bloc.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/135364/a-pivot-to-china
EDILBERTO C. DE JESUS
[OPINION] The rise and fall of Donald Trump
November 10, 2020
The results of the US elections showed that the incumbent president lost his bid for a second term. But the issues that brought him to the White House in 2016 remain unresolved. Seventy million Americans defied the opinion poll surveys and voted for the Republican ticket, delivered additional seats for the party in the House, and denied the Democrats the control of the Senate. Notwithstanding Trump's legal offensive to overturn the current electoral count, it would be difficult to invalidate the 74 million votes cast for Joseph Biden. Republican leaders and their election lawyers concede that no proof has thus far been offered to substantiate allegations of election fraud. A five-person panel election, with representation from both political parties oversee the counting of the ballots and the Party had mobilized its own army of poll watchers.
Read more: https://www.rappler.com/voices/thought-leaders/opinion-rise-fall-donald-trump
NO FREE LUNCH: Trump, Biden, and our economy
November 03, 2020
All told, Biden promises to be better than Trump in doing everything the latter promised that might not exactly be good news for our economy. But we all know there's so much more that matters, to Americans and to us, in making the choice between the two.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/134969/trump-biden-and-our-economy
NO FREE LUNCH: Brothers all
November 01, 2020
Pope Francis' latest encyclical "Fratelli Tutti" (Brothers All), a treatise on fraternity and social friendship, comes just when "social distancing" has become a widespread call, in an unfortunate mislabeling of what is better termed "physical distancing." Now, more than ever, the world needs to pull together, not distance from one another and work in isolation, to confront common challenges facing humanity; COVID-19 is only the latest and most urgent example.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/135152/brothers-all
NO FREE LUNCH: A porky problem
October 27, 2020
"Pigs don't vote, but corn farmers do," an agriculture official declared over three decades ago, as he defended high import barriers then that made corn, a vital feed grain, a much more expensive burden to the livestock and meat industry than could have been. He was half joking, but half serious as well.
The statement exemplified how the Department of Agriculture (DA) then, and through the years thereafter, had been prone to making policy decisions based more on politics than good economics. Since then, livestock and poultry raisers and their downstream industries have constantly clamored for stronger policy and program support from government.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/134788/a-porky-problem
NO FREE LUNCH: Marrying economics with politics
October 20, 2020
Economists are prone to blaming politics for getting in the way when outcomes predicted by their narrow theories don't come about. Others argue that economists must precisely understand how prevailing political forces must shape their policy prescriptions. I once had a mild philosophical debate with a colleague on the question of appropriate policy. I maintained that the "right policy" is where good economics would lead us after considering prevailing political circumstances. On the other hand, she insisted that "right policy" is what good economics would prescribe, period-what we economists call the "first-best" solution-but we must work to eliminate the political hurdles to getting there.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/134593/marrying-economics-with-politics
NO FREE LUNCH: Dangerous divergence
October 13, 2020
We've heard it said that COVID-19 has been an equalizer, in the sense that the virus makes no distinction between the rich and poor, and has afflicted people regardless of social and economic class. But the similarity ends there. The divide between the haves and the have-nots becomes obvious when we hear accounts of how recovered patients had to spend millions of pesos for their treatment. In a country whose public health system leaves much to be desired, a poor COVID-19 patient clearly faces far greater odds than one who is more financially endowed.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/134399/dangerous-divergence