As Orbán’s campaign shifted into the realm of mindless election year spending, one has to wonder if it is just to win the election – or to leave an empty budget for his successor. Or both.
The “questions” of the new national “consultation” letters sent to every household by Orbán has been dreamed up: they want to know if you wish to have more money, if you wish to get more money, if you wish to get your taxes back from last year.
I can’t sleep until I find out what people answer.
Orbán’s new chosen role is a fiscal giving tree before the 2022 elections. Not only is he giving cash to targeted electoral groups, he is making the announcements himself. He has been dropping news bombs in his recent communications and now he is spending a couple of billions on advertising his election year giveaway. Pardon, “to ask people’s opinion” about it.
Naturally, Orbánist media outlets, the court’s chosen advertising businesses and billboard makers are rubbing their hands in anticipation of the lush advertising spending – that’s their birth right in Orbánism. And the taxpayer couldn’t be happier either, because at the same time Orbán is announcing things like paying back the 2020 personal income taxes of parents who are raising kids right now.
Of course, the caveat about raising children had to be in the proposal – that is his latest paternalistic hobby: breeding purebred Huns. But the proposal also falls in line with his latest efforts to empty the state budget as if he was preparing to leave it to someone else – empty.
Orbán proposed the following budget-clearing measures before the elections (so far):
- Setting up asset management foundations and pouring taxpayer money into them. Then putting them outside the reach of any future government. The amount of cash and assets lost to these loyalist havens is hard to even estimate and is growing every day.
- Redirecting corporate taxes into the above mentioned loyalist foundations
- Paying back the 2020 personal income taxes of parents*
- Cancelling the personal income taxes of twenty-somethings*
- Payouts to pensioners (customary before elections and they love it even more if they are otherwise slowly left to starve with tricky pension indexation and record inflation that is denied)
- Even freelancers get a one-off cash payment (more than a year after the pandemic started)
to remember who’s daddyto restart the economy.
Another set of efforts point to taking on as much debt and spending it as fast as he can – as if he wanted to compound the empty budget with unbearable debt burden for someone who may or may not follow him on the throne.
- Russian debt to build a nuclear power station for the Russians
- Chinese debt to build a university for the Chinese regime
- Chinese debt to build railways for the Chinese economic interests
- There was even a demonstrative bond release during Orbán’s infamous Brussels veto negotiations when he refused to vote for the Covid reconstruction vehicle and wanted to show them that he can take out loans without Brussels.
- The national debt is at all-time high, of course.
Both lists can continue, this is just the last few months and the most written-about moves.
Stupid non-Orbán governments of Hungary. They have (both) ended their reigns with fiscal austerity to bring the budget in balance before they lost to Orbán. Orbán would never make that mistake and do a favor to his enemies. Not that he knows how to balance a budget.
Apart from this, as much money must be irretrievably spent on loyalists as possible before 2022. The EU’s Covid cash couldn’t come soon enough.
* Naturally, terms and conditions apply and if you happen to find yourself outside of the group of beneficiaries, you will only blame yourself for not being regular enough for the government to tailor-fit a law about you.