Pound the facts

With what is happening in China, domestic issues seem almost trivial. Presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden spoke virtually last Thursday. Biden released the following statement: “Today I spoke with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China as part of our efforts to deepen lines of communication, responsibly manage our differences, and address issues of mutual interest.”

Then again, “Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of the Chinese state-run Global Times, on Friday suggested that the People’s Liberation Army shoot down a plane carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan if US fighters escort her to the island.”

Last April Pelosi scheduled a trip to Taiwan, which was cancelled after China’s fierce objection. Perhaps by divine intervention, Pelosi tested positive for Covid, which gave her trip cancellation a valid excuse. Blame Covid. Blame Putin.

But Xi has problems other than Pelosi, and her proposed Taiwan trip actually works in Xi’s favor to rally the people against Imperialist America. Locking down almost 1 million people in a Wuhan suburb after the discovery of four Covid cases gives you a good idea of how things are in the Middle Kingdom.

While chairing the July Politburo meeting, President Xi reiterated the government’s “Dynamic Zero Covid” policy. He also required policymakers to ensure financial stability and properly handle risks from rural banks. Hundreds of rural bank customers in central China’s Henan province were beaten after protesting about not being able to get their money ($1.5 billion) back from several rural banks since April. Blame Covid.

Xi also emphasized that “housing is for living in, not for speculation,” adding that local governments should take responsibilities in “guaranteeing the delivery of homes.” Too many developers took down payments and “forgot” to build the units. After that statement, property stocks dropped 2.8 percent at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Now the Beijing government is considering confiscation (nationalization) of undeveloped land from distressed real estate companies, using it to help finance the completion of stalled housing projects that have triggered mortgage payments boycotts across the country.

There is a motto among lawyers: “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts; if you have the law on your side, pound the law; if you have neither the facts nor the law, pound the table.”

That applies to others too. If you cannot criticize something on the facts and what was actually said, complain about what was not talked about.

Philippine inflation is currently high as is true for most of the world. But our inflation rate tracks and is correlated with the global price of crude oil. The Philippine annual inflation rate is 6.1 percent. The global average inflation rate is 7.4 percent, according to the World Bank. That comparison is not meant to bring any sort of satisfaction about local prices being high. What it does mean is the fact that this is not a local problem that can be solved with local solutions.

To further “pound the facts,” the outlook is good for the economy, which will mitigate some of the negative effects of price increases.

“The International Monetary Fund has raised its 2022 gross domestic product growth forecast for the Philippines to 6.7 percent from the original target of 6.5 percent.” “Standard Chartered Bank now expects faster economic growth for the Philippines this year,” forecasting growth at 8 percent. “The Asian Development Outlook 2022 Supplement says the Philippine economy will grow at least 6.5 percent in 2022, up from the bank’s April forecast of 6.0 percent.”

Certainly, there will be those who “pound the table” and say those estimates are not good enough and that poverty is a critical issue. Now it is valid to “Blame Covid. Blame Putin,” at least for a while.


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