HDP’s economic platform: taxes for the rich, social support for the public
The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) shared its economic platform with the public as it entered the campaign process. The 15-page text titled “Democratic Economy Program” emphasized that not only the crisis of the capitalist system, but also the unresolved policies pursued in the Kurdish issue and the problems and burdens brought about by the State of Emergency and the Presidential Government System were influential in the economic crisis and its escalation.
The prevailing attitude of the program is that an anti-capitalist approach can generate alternative solutions. In preparing the HDP program, it states that there is a third and populist solution to regulated or unregulated neoliberalism. The program, which announces that the lowest pension will be at rate of the minimum wage, that the right to food and transportation and the right to free education in the mother tongue will be provided, and that a People’s Fund will be established, envisages an end to tax amnesty, re-taxation of large capital, and the nationalization of roads and hospitals with payment guarantees.
The HDP program gave the answer of new tax regulations and an end to governmental waste to the question "what is the financial source for this spending?"
FIGHTING THE CRISIS OF INFLATION, UNEMPLOYMENT, POVERTY, AND HOUSING RANKS FIRST
The escalation in inflation, and the poverty, unemployment, and housing crisis it brings form the backbone of the HDP Urgent Action Plan. This framework plans for price control of basic necessities, electricity, natural gas, bread, milk, and baby food.
The program also states that the abrupt cut-off of electricity and natural gas in case of non-payment of debt will be stopped as part of the energy regulation.
The HDP's promises include providing cash assistance to families whose income is below a certain level and providing "basic income security" equal to two-thirds of the minimum wage for an individual over the age of 18, regardless of income in each household.
FREE EDUCATION IN NATIVE LANGUAGE AND THE RIGHT TO FOOD AND TRANSPORTATION
Another issue emphasized within the scope of the program is the poverty experienced by students, especially as a result of the nation’s impoverishment. In this context, it was emphasized that besides free academic education, free education in native languages would also be provided. Similarly, the program states that the transportation and nutrition needs of children will be met by the state. Opening a free kindergarten in every neighborhood where working families can drop off their children was also listed among the promises. Another commitment is to shut down the Wealth Fund and replacing it with a “People's Fund” with democratic participation.
THE MINIMUM PENSION WILL BE AT THE MINIMUM WAGE LEVEL
Another issue focused on within the scope of the program is employment and wages. The relevant section begins with the promise that all employees will be given a livable wage, then emphasizes that pensions will be increased twice a year and that unions and labor organizations would be taken into account in salary increases. The relevant part of the program is as follows:
“In order to cover the increases in living costs and to receive a fair share of the increase in productivity, the wages of all workers will be raised to a level commensurate with human dignity. The lowest pension will be raised to the minimum wage level and will be increased twice a year at the rate of inflation. Democratic arrangements will be made to ensure the participation of workers and their unions, labor, and professional organizations in decisions on issues such as hiring, determining and raising salaries, training, and professional development.
WE WILL RETURN TO THE ISTANBUL CONVENTION
Returning to the Istanbul Convention, which provides a framework for reducing the number of women subjected to violence in Turkey and creating security, was among the topics included in the program. The program says, “The decision to leave the Istanbul Convention will be annulled, and all its provisions will be meticulously implemented.”
The fact that the Common Programs Consensus Paper of the Nation Alliance only emphasized compliance with relevant international conventions, and did not mention by name the Istanbul Convention, had especially been criticized by women's organizations.
WEALTH FUND TO BE REPLACED WITH PEOPLE’S FUND
The Wealth Fund, which was established by presidential decree in 2016 during the state of emergency and which consists of 29 companies, 2 licenses, and immovable properties, among which are important companies such as Caykur, Halk Bank, Ziraat Bank, Turkish Airlines, and PTT, has been the cause of significant debate since its founding. It is a well-known fact that such funds are usually established by countries with export surpluses, and especially by energy-rich countries as a means of investment and of attracting future investors. The deficits in Turkey's foreign trade and the financial losses of the institutions within the fund caused serious criticisms of the fund. Due to this nature of the fund, all opposition parties met on common ground. The Consensus Paper of the Nation Alliance released on January 30, in a similar fashion to the HDP’s Democratic Economy Program, had announced that the Wealth Fund would be closed.
The program, which states that the closure of the fund will be an economic gain for Turkey, says, “The Turkey Wealth Fund, which is essentially the Parallel Treasury of the One-Man Regime, will be closed. The People's Fund will be established in its stead. The accumulated wealth will be used for a democratic economy.”
AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION “WHAT IS THE SOURCE”: TAX REGULATION AND OPPOSITION TO WASTE
The Economic Program included the details of how to achieve these goals in addition to saying what those goals were. The HDP responded to the question, “what will be the source for this expenditure?" by proposing new tax regulations for the wealthy, and a system that prioritizes ending tax amnesties, reducing waste, and restructuring the budget.
END TAX AMNESTY, TAX GREAT WEALTH OWNERS
The details of the taxation system, which the HDP stated will be reorganized to find and create resources, and the road map to follow within this framework, were summarized as follows:
- Tax exemptions, breaks, and amnesties for big capital will be ended.
- The privileges granted to profits, interest, and wealth incomes will be abolished, unearned income and large fortunes will be taxed.
- Resource transfer methods to all kinds of capital, especially the budgetary law, will be terminated.
It was also emphasized in the text that taxation according to income would be given priority. In this framework, the program plans to apply taxes at increasing rates according to wealth.
Another notable topic within the program was the unearned income tax application. According to the text, a progressive unearned income tax will be imposed on the unearned income generated by zoning increases or through ownership of a large number of residences.
FLEETS OF AIRPLANES WILL BE SOLVED, NO MORE THAN ONE SALARY WILL BE GIVEN
One address that was pointed to for the financing of the economic transformation was the Presidential Palace, in addition to other arrangements and structures that are classified as waste expenditures. The text, which says that "The waste in the Palace will end,” also stated that the planes and yachts of the Presidency will be sold, covert appropriations of funds will be removed, and public personnel, especially consultants and senior executives, will be prevented from receiving more than one salary from more than one institution.
As in the Wealth Fund policy, on the fight against waste, the sale of airplanes, and restriction of multiple salaries, the HDP aligns with the Consensus Paper of the Nation Alliance.
“DEFENSE EXPENDITURES WILL BE REDUCED THROUGH PEACE POLICIES”
Another noteworthy topic of the Democratic Economy Program was the emphasis on the review of defense and security expenditures. In this regard, the HDP states that the budget allocated to defense and security expenditures can be reallocated to other areas by pursuing peaceful policies. The relevant part of the program is as follows:
“The Flow of Resources to War and Security Expenditures Will Be Prevented Through Peacemaking Policies. The Kurdish problem will be resolved by peaceful means so that there will be no need for extraordinary military expenditures neither at home nor across the border, and at the same time, thanks to peace, millions of people will participate in the democratic system as a producers. The country's resources will not go to tanks, missiles, or weapons.”
BRIDGES, ROADS, HOSPITALS WILL BE NATIONALIZED
The HDP pointed to nationalization as a solution for payments in foreign currency, for the fact that the companies given tenders are always the same, and for the roads, bridges, and hospitals criticized for their large gap between the observed number of users and the promised number of users.
According to the program:
- All public tenders that have given to government-affiliated companies for years will be canceled and payments will be stopped.
- Those responsible for corruption in public tenders will be held accountable.
- Guaranteed payments for public-private cooperation projects will be stopped.
- Bridges, highway, and city hospital projects built through public-private cooperation projects will be nationalized.
- The funds, which are the source of the arbitrary expenditures of the Palace, will be reallocated to the budget.
- Discretionary expenditures will be stopped.
- Donation of public funds to government affiliated associations and foundations will be stopped.