Streamline Cabinet taxing every portfolio
"Thaaththa," Bindu Udagedera asked, "what do you think of the budget?"
"Why," Percy Udagedera, Bindu's father asked, "What about it?"
"Why, thaaththa, it was supposed to be the big event of the year…"
"Why do you say that?" Percy wanted to know.

"Why, thaaththa, whenever someone raised an issue about the rising cost of living, all they told us was to wait until the Budget…"
"Why, Bindu, did you hope that the cost of living would come crashing down when Sarath presented his budget?" Percy asked.

"No, thaaththa," Bindu said, "but most people expected some relief…"
"There are some relief measures aren't there?" Percy queried, "haven't the taxes on essential food items been reduced?"
"That may be so," Bindu said, "but the Reds and Blues must be surely heaving a sigh of relief now…"

"Why do you say that?" Percy wanted to know.
"Why, thaaththa, that chap crossed over from the Greens to the Blues on Budget day…"
"Why should they be so happy about that?"
"Why, thaaththa, that will ensure the Reds and the Blues now have a majority in Parliament"
"So, getting a majority in Parliament is so simple after all…"

"How can you say that, thaaththa?" Bindu was puzzled, "Satellite was trying so hard to get a majority all these months and they even lost the election for the Speaker…"
"Ah, but that was a temporary setback…" Percy said, "all Satellite has to do is offer a portfolio and they all cross-over to the other side…"
"You can't be so sure of that…" Bindu argued.

"Why not?" Percy countered, "Satellite did that to the Muslim Congress, then she did it with the Ceylon Workers' Congress and now she is even doing it to the Greens…"
"And that is why we now have so many Cabinet ministers and deputy ministers…" Bindu observed.

"Yes," Percy agreed, "Sarath would have raised more money for the government if he imposed a ministerial tax on anyone taking oaths as a minister or a deputy minister…"
"But thaaththa," Bindu protested, "if you have to pay a tax on what you gain by becoming a minister then no one would be interested in becoming a minister…

"But that is exactly what Sarath did in the Budget…" Percy said.
"Why do you say that?" Bindu was puzzled.
"Why, Bindu first he proudly announces a pay hike for everyone…"
"But that is supposed to benefit everybody…" Bindu argued.
"Yes, but only fifty per cent of the pay hike is given now; the rest is to be given much later…"

"He said he can't afford a full pay hike right now…" Bindu said.
"Yes, but he is going to tax all public servants right now and then with that money, he will give us the pay hike a year later…" Percy said.
"That's like robbing Peter to pay Paul…" Bindu said.

"No, Bindu," Percy corrected, "this is robbing Peter to pay Peter because first we have to pay back money as taxes and then we get it back in the form of a pay hike and Sarath takes all the credit …"
"No wonder they call it a PA budget…" Bindu said.

"Why do they say that?"
"Why, thaaththa, it is a 'Parakkui Arrakkui' budget because the pay hike is 'parakkui' but the price increase is on 'arakkui'…"
Percy didn't argue with that.

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