Saturday, February 01, 2014

Comparing Thailand's troubles to American politics

A social government under pressure

Thailand's government is under attack.

Typically these types of problems against democratically elected governments are caused by poor, and often uneducated jihadists in Africa and the Middle East. But in Thailand, it's the educated, urban and middle class voters, who have lost five elections in a row, that are protesting and in some cases, violently rebelling against the government.  

Their main contention is that Thaksin Shinawatra, an exiled former prime minister that was overthrown in a military coup and convicted for a conflict of interest case, is attempting to come back to Thailand by influencing the government to pass an amnesty bill.  

Thaksin's party is the most popular political force in the country through its socialistic welfare like policies.  Its programs has helped pushed health care coverage from 76% of the population to 96%, and cut poverty in half.  An example of its anti-poverty measures include buying up agricultural products such as rice above market prices.

A shrewd politician, he has elevated the poor, and expanded massive infrastructure jobs, but has isolated the middle class such as health professionals who have taken in more patients but less revenue.  International aid organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned Thailand of the dangers behind some of its social programs as non-sustainable.

Similarities with American politics

Not unlike American politics, a socialistic platform have lifted up the Democratic Party and opened up the way for the first ever election of an African-American president.  However, despite having a complete majority in Congress in Obama's first term, and complete control of the executive branch of government, the Democratic Party was unable to prevent historical back to back credit rating downgrades of the United States in 2011.  They have also created additional taxes against the middle class to support new universal health care coverage, and impacted professionals with lower payouts in Medicare.

The only thing that hasn't happened yet, in contrast to Thailand, is a coordinated nationwide rebellion against the ruling party.  Thankfully, the American electorate still respect the Constitution and will still voice their displeasure at the voting booth instead of firing a gun.