Smokescreen in front of the Presidential Palace

Czeslaw Ryszka

The struggle for the presence of the cross in front of the Presidential Palace, where Poles pay tribute to the victims of the national tragedy – the plane crash at Smolensk – continues. It was promised that some memorial with the cross would be erected. But quite unexpectedly, on 12 August a commemorative tablet was hung. Nobody was informed about the event. The host of the palace was absent. The gathered people shouted, ‘Dishonour!’ The quarrel will certainly intensify now. It seems that someone does his best to prolong this affair at this place so that the media keep reporting about it a hundred times, wondering why Jaroslaw Kaczynski did not come to the swearing-in ceremony of the President, what the attitude of the Bishops’ Conference is, whether the defenders of the cross could be mislead some night and the cross could be taken secretly to St Anne’s Church.
The thugs in front of the palace, who came spontaneously or were hired, disturbing people to pray and reflect, are an excellent smokescreen for the shameful problems that concern the Parliament and government and which one cannot find in any serious analyses in the mass media. The first matter is the vision of the state according to President Bronislaw Komorowski. In his first message he said clearly that Poland gave up its role as the leader of Central Europe, would not oppose the imperial demands of Russia in this region and that we would return to the role of client in Brussels. Nobody is questioning the President’s first decisions that strengthened the political monopoly of the Civic Platform.
The second matter, which is less shameful, is that the Parliament and the Senate accepted the competence law – almost without any debate – restricting the Polish Parliament to control the EU legal acts accepted by Poland. The government will not have to inform the Parliament and Senate about the acceptance of bills in eleven legal areas. It is treating ourselves as poor relatives in the EU forum. The German authorities did the opposite. They accepted the solution that Bundestag had to consent to all EU laws and issues. It is hard to understand why our government wants to omit the ratification procedures in the Parliament. Why did the Polish Parliament and Senate, dominated over by the Civic Platform, agree to that?
The third matter is taxes. It is astonishing how little is spoken and written about the Long-term Financial State Plan, accepted on 3 August 2010 by the government. According to it the VAT rates will go up by one percent, which will cause increases in the prices of fuel, gas, energy, which in turn will lead to higher prices of all goods and services. Unfortunately, higher prices always follow higher costs. It is hard to understand why the option of tax increase, which is most severe to those having average income, was chosen? It is estimated that the cost of living will be 150 zloty higher, i.e. for an average family (4 people) will amount to ca. 600 zloty more a year.
The increase in VAT by one percent is only 10% of the whole sum needed to heal this year’s state budget since 50-60 billion zloty is missing. We can expect a further increase in taxes and currently, we can expect the sale of the mixed companies, mainly in the electro-energy sector. Moreover, the government intends not to control PZU and PKO BP – according to the financial plan. This shocking information is extraordinary: the sale of these two financial giants was not included in the governmental privatisation plan. Both financial institutions are the most valuable firms, last ‘pearls’ belonging to the Treasury. The budget can gain several billion zloty a year from the dividends alone, not mentioning other benefits for the budget and Polish market resulting from the state ownership in the financial sector (the profits of PZU was almost 13 billion zloty in the years 2006-2008). The sale of the shares of both companies when the Treasury stops controlling them can amount once to… several billion zloty.
Perhaps savings can be found in the administration. Very few people know that in the years 2008-2009 the employment in the public administration had an increase of 40,000 posts. In 2010 the cost of this increased employment will amount to ca. 4.5 billion zloty and in 2011 it will approach 5 billion zloty. It means that each of us will pay more for goods so that there is enough money for the army of state functionaries.
Returning to the issue of the cross in front of the Presidential Palace the government needs this ‘row’, the government that led to a radical increase in taxes of the public finances after 1,000 days of its bad economic politics. Now, having full power, limiting the expenses the government reaches to the tax-payers’ pockets. And a year ago the Prime Minister promised not to increase taxes thanks to his politics of savings. Quite recently we have been told that we are ‘a green island.’ Today the government is looking for a pretext to sell the most valuable state companies because it neglected the necessary reforms.

"Niedziela" 34/2010

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: