Orbán does not know how to govern a country
Thursday, 24 November 2011 12:22
This year's budget deficit is contained only with the help of stolen private pension fund assets, which were accounted for as one-off budget revenues. The unemployment rate still stagnates, while the weakness of the forint (HUF) reached a historic (negative) record, just as did the amount of Hungary's public debt. The flat tax rate made the rich richer, and the poor poorer. The nation is drowning in fear and uncertainty. The small guy has already lost most of his freedom; but now his job and savings are at stake. The government's make-work program fell apart even before it commenced. Fortunately though, given that it was doomed from the get-go. Leaders of small and medium-sized enterprises are unhappy and frustrated just like teachers, doctors, nurses and university students. The Hungarian Opera House is now empty; Budapest's theatrical life is grappling with the Dörner-Csurka scandal, not to mention that a state censor will also be appointed soon, who will – not unlike the Communist-era state censor, only known as “Comrade Aczél” – supervise movies (!).
The draft budget for next year has collapsed even before its approval as the government overestimated the rate of economic growth, and thus almost all budget revenues. As a result, another budget gap in the hundreds of billions of HUF is to be expected by the second half of 2012.
Even the shame has befallen to Hungary that capital disinvestment surpassed capital investment during the first half of the year. This is something unprecedented over the past 20 years in Hungary. Not even the start of production in the new Mercedes factory (brought to Kecskemét as a result of the efforts of the Gyurcsány government) scheduled for next year will be of any help to Orbán. Markets have already started to price junk status for Hungary, as well as interest rate hikes by NBH. It will be rather difficult to carry out the so called “reckoning”, and to set up show trials as well as show tribunals while the ruling parties lose their popular support, and the people have to tighten their belts even more as the 27-percent VAT (now the highest in the world) will make all items more expensive.
It was the Democratic Coalition (DK) that has first concluded that the government must turn to the IMF; now every expert shares this opinion (including notable economists and former finance ministers, such as Mr. László Békesi and Mr. Péter Oszkó). Otherwise the country may face a catastrophic situation. Notwithstanding, Orbán's soul and political philosophy would just break if he had to admit it. House speaker Mr. László Kövér called the IMF “the cronies of Gyurcsány”. How it is possible to step back from this stance?
It's time to declare the obvious: that Orbán does not know at all how to govern a country. He is only a strong-willed and apt power player, who seems to be a talented prime minister (in the eyes of only a fraction of the nation) only as long as the achievements of previous governments last. This is how it worked from 1998 to 2000, when basically, the results of the Horn-Kuncze governments and the Bokros austerity and economic adjustment package kept him afloat – but then Mr. Matolcsy came. Lately it has been the convergence program originally devised by the Gyurcsány government, and the crisis management work initiated by Mr. Gyurcsány, and successfully carried on by Mr. Bajnai, that bailed him out for a while. However, in 2010, Mr. Matolcsy started his “beneficial” work immediately after the elections.
Orbán was successful in attaining power with the help of lies, treason, by weaving and exploiting personal and business relations, as well as by aptly applying political and economic populism, but that was all he knew. Yet, he has already had as much as two terms to prove what he is capable of. In 2010, he was finally given all the trust and empowerment by the voters of Hungary, granting his party a two-third majority. But he did not use his power for the good of the nation. Thus, it's time to retire him soon.