Tuesday, June 08, 2010

How should we spend your money?

So the big government question is how do you (the public) want us (the government) to spend your money?

Normally the first thing I'd jump on is - why are you asking us? Yes it's all nice and democratic, but we don't have the information available to make an informed decision. I say normally because in a surprising act we now have COINS which is essentially a database of all public sector spending.

So now we know how much is being spent, except we don't. We still have no way of evaluating the data. To bring into a more workable context 'Is an iPad worth £500?' the answer is 'It depends'. So is £Xbn spent on department Y value for money, it depends.

So the public might turn around and say it wants more money spent on education. But we know simply chucking money at things doesn't always make them better, we want the money to be spent wisely, efficiently. How do we know that's being done? We don't, if the money already being spent isn't being done so efficiently we don't want more money to chase it.

We could say we want money spent on officers on foot patrol, but now we're drilling down to a level of detail that's best dealt with at a local level are we going to start evaluating how many cars they should buy, where they should buy their uniforms from?

This is what government is for; they're the ones in a position to acquire this information asking the public is pointless where do we want money spent - Education, Health, Emergency Services, Roads, Public Transport. We want the pension to rise, we want energy prices to fall, we want services that work and the fat cut out of politics. We want whatever the tabloids are harping on about this week. We want everything and the reason for that is because we're not in a position to make an informed decision, that's the government's job; that's what we pay your wages for.

[Update Yes of course]


Orphi said...

I like jellybabies.

FlipC said...

There see I prefer jelly beans.

So do we split the money between the two of us? If jelly babies are cheaper than jelly beans would that be considered fair? Should we buy any jelly beans at all and go for the majority vote of jelly babies?

If neither jelly beans nor jelly babies were available would licorice allsorts be an acceptable compromise?

Orphi said...

Now, see, I have no strong preference in either directions. So long as it's made of jelly, it's all fine by me! Go buy whatever's cheapest.

I cannot stand licorice, however. (!!)

Proof (if it were necessary) that vote numbers don't tell the whole story.