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The Usual Friday Crud

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Friday, 20 October 2006

That's our money you're spending!

Ah, it must be so much fun spending other people's money. No need to be frugal, no need to care about the quality of the product, no need to even care if it's delivered.
And that's how it is when you get civil servants and politicians playing with all that cash fleeced from hard-working taxpayers.
Take the recent retrospective legislation regarding the spending of taxpayers' money by political parties at election time for instance...
According to the Auditor General's report, the total magnitude of the "problem" (ie: the amount illegally spent by politicians) was a hair over $1 million.
Guess how much it cost to pass legislation to legalise that spending and thus effectively eliminate that $1m problem?
Well best estimates place that cost at around $1.8m.
How's that for a sensible investment -- spend $1.8m to wipe a $1m problem.
But who cares? It's only taxpayers' money and those same MPs that wasted it will still be getting a very healthy pay rise -- as will Maarten Wevers.
Who the hell is Maarten Wevers?
he's the Head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (ie: he's a really important civil servant).
He has just received a $60,000 pay rise, amounting to about 16%.
Yes, that's right, his pay *increase* is about 1.5 times the average pay that all those hard-working taxpayers have to live on for a whole year.
But hey, it's only taxpayers' money, who cares?
But wait, there's more...
Right now, I'm seriously thinking of becoming a problem gambler because it looks like this makes you a very important person, worthy of a big spend by government.
It seems that the government has handed over $500,000 to treat problem gamblers. What's wrong with that? Problem gambling is a destructive problem that can destroy families and even lead to suicide.
Well I agree, but when you realise that the number of "problem gamblers" who benefited from this half-million dollars was just 34, you've got to wonder where it all went.
Some of these problem gamblers may have received nothing more than a 16-minute phone call, for which the "provider" would have netted up to $18,000.
No; scratch that earlier idea -- I'm going to become a problem gambler support provider. You can't beat that pay -- it's even better than Maarten's!
But who cares, it's only taxpayers' money and without any real tax relief in sight, there's always going to be plenty of it to waste.
Gosh, am I being too harsh?
Has the climate of waste that saw hip-hop tours, degrees in evening-golf and a raft of other frivolous disbursement of taxpayers' money continued unabated?
Do you think our MPs and civil servants have an obligation to do better -- or will simply hiking taxes fix the problem if taxpayer funds get a little low as a result of this waste?

[Thanks Aardvark]
(I couldn't see how to link to this specific article...)

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