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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The morning after the Budget Night before


The older you get, the more budgets you see, the more political leaders you witness sweeping through the system trying to sell us their gibberish, which makes you realise that none of them give a hoot about the long term welfare of this country. Yet as an electorate we’re continually seduced by the words and ideas of these two-bit salesmen. Sadly, we get what we deserve.

‘You get what you pay for,’ was one of Milton Friedman’s dicta. You pay people to be poor, unemployed, and in single-mom households and that’s what you get: a whole bunch of people with no real job and no idea how the real world works, imagining everybody lives on government handouts; the rich just get more.

And don't even get me started on the bloated 'Public Service' (surely the greatest euphemism ever invented!) Remember the old chestnut about how many public servants work in Canberra? 'About half', is the suggested answer (although, having had the dubious pleasure of working on a government contract for six months, I can tell you that even that low estimate is grossly overstated).

All of which may explain why during Australia's 10-year resources boom, twice as many public servants than mine workers were hired, bloating the bureaucracy and inflating public spending. Cutting back is now a priority for a government seeking budget savings.

‘In the 10 years through June 2013, 375,000 public sector workers were taken on compared with 173,200 mining workers, according to government data compiled by Bloomberg. Even as the mining boom boosted growth and tax receipts, the ballooning government wages bill added to strains on the budget and helped push sovereign debt to a record A$318 billion.’

Of course, the biggest financial disaster in recent Australian history has been Canberra itself, and all because a whole bunch of pollies couldn't agree. I've read various estimates ranging from fifty billion up to three-hundred-billion spent to create a city that had no economic basis for its existence. Imagine how different Australia would be if that amount of money, whatever it is, had not gone into this Albert Speer fantasy but instead into hospitals, roads, research, manufacturing, universities, defence and anything else you can think of. It's too late to reverse this but we can try and keep the lid on how much we spend on that Orwellian place.

Congratulations Australia, you’re run by a bunch of fiscally incompetent clowns. Unless you want to spend your next welfare cheque at McDonald's, being served by your own grandparents, you'd better start kicking up more of a stink about this because things will only get worse.