Your Tax Money At Work

Sigh.

The Ministry of Defence is accused today of a litany of mistakes after it was revealed to have spent hundreds of millions of pounds on eight Chinook helicopters which are still not airworthy 13 years after being ordered.

A report by the National Audit Office reveals that for seven years the helicopters have been stored in air conditioned hangars in Britain while troops in Afghanistan have been forced to rely on helicopters which are flying with safety faults. The new helicopters should have been in service in 2002.

And there are those who still insist that we cannot reduce taxes at all, that there is no waste to cut.

8 thoughts on “Your Tax Money At Work”

  1. “And there are those who still insist that we cannot reduce taxes at all, that there is no waste to cut.”

    For anyone to suggest that efficiencies are impossible to find points at a severely constrained imagination. One for who the money just appears, or worse still, has the luxury of being able to make decisions without having to justify the cost.

    Ah to work in the government without a care in the world.

  2. I don’t doubt there is waste; My question to you Tim is that the waste saving greater than the debt servicing requirement?

    Once PFI and unfunded civil service pensions are added to the fast rising national debt, then is there scope for cutting taxes at this time?

    The cost savings which are huge may well be needed to pug the holes in the red lines elsewhere – as well as on key areas such power generation capability and transport infrastructure.

    it is a sad state of affairs at which we have arrived…

  3. Once PFI and unfunded civil service pensions are added to the fast rising national debt, then is there scope for cutting taxes at this time?

    Yes. PFI liabilities are trivial at 2% of GDP; and the national debt is well below its 1997 share of GDP even after they’re included.

    And civil service pensions can safely be ignored; if it ever transpires that the government doesn’t have enough cash to pay them, then it won’t (this is why Governments Are Different From Companies).

  4. Sorry JB, far too pithy. Debt is very high for this time in the cycle i.e. at the end not the beginning like in 1997.

    Easy to say they won’t pay civil service pensions – where on earth is your evidence for this? Why would MP’s ever vote to destroy their own civil service pensions.

    2% is a big chunk of tax revenue too – even labout have only increased the overall burden by 4% in 10 years – 2% the way you write it sounds like a drop in the ocean, but it is not.

  5. fair point, we did not do very well in any of those other recessions did we? Ended up in 3 day weeks and cap in hand to the IMF.

    Not really looking forward to that bit myself.

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  7. At the risk of seeming not to be able to see the trees for the forest, I’d state that such egregious boondoggles are not worth getting upset about–at least not on principle; they’re inevitable accompaniments of bureaucracy and expansion of the bureaucratic system.

    Within such a system, there’s no possibility of eliminating such occurrences–they’re “built in” to the system itself. In order to reduce the disastrous burden, no amount of oversight will suffice. Bureaucratization is the inevitable (and entirely proper) result of government activity and function; to reduce the incidence of bureaucratic idiocy, it is necessary to first sever the link between coercive authority and the affected function. The fact that government might be able to do everything is no reason to believe it should.

    I’m going to repeat a recommendation. Read the book “Bureaucracy.” Physically, it’s a “pocket” book (5″ X 8″) and a mere 125 pages. Once you’ve read it, you’ll recognize that you know virtually everything about the subject worth knowing. It’s by Ludwig von Mises–probably the most readable of his many works. And you can download and read it free over at mises.org.

    It is true that there are some functions from which it is impractical (or impossible) to divorce government; primarily, these are the “night watchman” activities (and those will always be prone to the shortcomings discussed). But the scope for improvement is enormous.

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