“Polish Order” – government’s PR instead of reforms

Edgar Degas: Absinthe Drinker // Public domain

The “Polish Order”, presented by the ruling Law and Justice party, is a marketing shell without comprehensive reforms and adequate and effective actions. It is not a plan for increasing prosperity. It is a plan for spending money and buying votes in those areas where the authorities have their electorate and can still gain some points.

The “Polish Order” is a propaganda and political document. It is not an economic plan, let alone a strategic document that would show how to cope with the biggest challenges facing the Polish economy in the coming decades.

Economic growth is necessary to increase prosperity, which means also better and professional public services, including health care. Prosperity is not created by taxes, transfers or spending stiffened in relation to GDP. They are the result of economic growth, not its cause. To sustain rapid economic growth, especially in the face of demographic crisis, appropriate, well-prepared and planned reforms are necessary. Unfortunately, the Law and Justice government did not show such reforms in the “Polish Order”.

This document is a list of generalities, slogans and wishes, often very laconically described. The pillars of this document do not form a coherent whole. They also do not allow for achieving ambitious (and at the same time – especially without necessary reforms – unrealistic) development goals set in the document. These are mostly promises of more transfers, subsidies, support instruments and increased spending.

Considering the tension built, the strategy of leaks, the postponement of the premiere date, the final document is highly disappointing. It is dominated by propaganda graphics and charts, lacking reforms, content and specifics.

The only element behind which there is some analysis and more concrete solutions is the proposal for changes in taxes, although even in this area we have many significant question marks and understatements.

The concept of the “Polish Order” is an announcement of large-scale income redistribution of questionable effectiveness – largely from the middle class, the wealthier, and entrepreneurs to retirees and the economically inactive. The document also assumes tax cuts for lower-earning workers, which is a good thing in principle, though combined with tax increases in other areas and further harmful transfers, it may give little impetus to growth.

Full commentary by Slawomir Dudek, Rafal Trzeciakowski and Marcin Zielinski available here [in Polish]

Written by: 

Slawomir Dudek – chief economist at the Civil Development Forum (FOR)

Rafal Trzeciakowski – economist at the Civil Development Forum (FOR)

Marcin Zielinski – an economic analyst at the Civil Development Forum (FOR)

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