Wednesday, November 15, 2006

VIC elections: Let the spending spree begin!

I have just been browsing the past Victorian state budgets online and if anybody would devote some time to reading just how much money the Bracks government has wasted in the past, they wouldn't be cheering and supporting future promises by either Bracks or Bailieu to pour more money into wasteful projects.

In the state election of 1999, Bracks took power from Kennett, whose premiership, under the direction of treasurer Alan Stockdale, had seen Victoria finally eliminate all the massive debt it had accumulated under the ALP era of Cain-Kirner, and keep the size and spending of government down. Lots of private projects were thriving under Kennett, with massive booms in construction and road works.

Unfortunately, just as the 1999 election rolled around, even the Liberal party decided to boost its election spending promises. The public sector, who felt they deserve perpetual and ever increasing pay-rises, was screaming for funds. Teachers unions, police and nurses were all helping the ALP campaign to overthrow Kennett, because Kennett wasn't stuffing money down their throats with no questions asked. Kennett's final budget was the 1999-2000 budget, where about $19.36 billion of public spending was allocated:

A record amount of $4.5bil was allocated to public schools.

A staggering $5bil was allocated to health. As you can see, public spending had already been creeping upwards in each annual budget. But unsurprisingly, the nurses and public hospitals were asking for an even bigger chunk of funding despite providing poor services.

Needless to say, our political elites were happy to oblige with such election promises.

Moving on to the last election, the 2002-03 budget was already bloated with $24.7 billion of spending allocated. And here we are in 2006 facing another election. This time, the 2006-07 Victorian budget plans to increase total annual spending by 4.5% from this financial year, to a grand total of $32.1 billion !

Does anyone really see how pouring more of our hard-earned savings into taxes and public spending has improved our lives ? Schools and hospitals haven't improved. The only result is that State Governments become like junkies, addicted to ever increasing amounts of spending, vote-buying, marketing and advertising, and pork.

Meanwhile, poor families are struggling to get by and politicians play games with their savings. If people were allowed to keep the property that is rightfully theirs, instead of having it coercively stolen and spent by bureaucrats and politicians, then people are rational enough to spend it on whatever priorities they have, whether it be schools, health, transport, holidays, food or investment for the future.

$9bil goes to health, $9bil goes to education, $3.2bil goes to transport.

And these election promises are outrageously excessive.

Close to $100m gets thrown at "The Arts" ! Close to $200m gets thrown at Sports ! Close to $150m gets thrown at something totally ambiguous just so we can get that feelgood vibe - "environmental sustainability !

People already value art, and sport, and culture, and nature. Free markets would allow the best parts of these industries to survive and flourish, but instead government interferes and subsidises the arts and sporting venues that wouldn't be able to survive financially on their own, because they don't appeal to the majority of the public.

Why not just end the whole farce and stop taxing us to death?