Re: Cutting Taxes to Spur the Economy

From: Brett Paatsch (
Date: Tue Jul 08 2003 - 02:04:50 MDT

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    Lee Corbin writes:

    > Brett writes
    > > > What possible incentive do government employees have to cut spending?
    > >
    > > First, to be clear, I wasn't saying that *government employees*,
    > > (as opposed to government ministers), either as a class, or as
    > > individuals do have such an incentive....
    > > A minister hands down a need to a department head for a
    > > 10% cut and the department head looks for the ways to
    > > realise that cut or tries to oppose the cut as the department
    > > head sees fit. Some negotiation may ensue by a competent
    > > department head will at least go back to the minister armed
    > > with information that supports his case. The department
    > > head sends a message down to his/her subordinates look for
    > > ways to cut costs. Those that find them, perhaps at pointing
    > > out inefficiencies due to technological change that make say
    > > a few old clerical types redundant will probably be rewarded.
    > Oh, they'll be rewarded all right: probably a larger
    > office, and a few new and extra subordinates. All
    > at taxpayer expense, of course. No actual savings
    > will occur except in vanishingly few instances.

    Then are other ways. They may just get to keep their job
    and be in line for vacancies when they open up. Btw. Top
    public service jobs in Oz are often contracts now. That puts
    a slightly different spin on things.

    > > Human nature being what it is not all the recommendations for
    > > employee cuts will be motivated by the higher good.
    > With almost superhuman effort, I refrain from the requisite
    > sarcastic comment here.

    You lost me Lee. Where are you going? I said there are two
    ways of delivering tax cuts. 1) cutting spending and 2) returning
    bracket creep. Then *you* asked why would government
    employees support cuts. Which wasn't what I said, but I thought,
    what the hell, here are some reasons why some might anyway.

    When I don't know if you are serious or not I am completely
    immune from sarcasm so go ahead if you feel like it. I can
    imagine too many sarcastic comments at too many tangents.
    It would have been better to narrow it to one. At least
    I'd know what your are talking about.

    > > Some will want to settle old scores, remove competitors,
    > > use the opportunities in the restructure to alter their
    > > competitive position.
    > Say it's not so!
    > (After all, I'm only human.)

    In some cases it *is* so. (Double sarcasm if you like ;-)

    *You* asked the question!? What gives?

    > > I am inferring from your question a view that government
    > > employees see themselves as a class and that their class
    > > loyalties are not easily shaken up. I think this is mistaken.
    > No, I was not thinking that at all. They were and are
    > firmly, IMO, putting #1 ahead of every other consideration.
    > > Other loyalties in the case of almost all individuals that
    > > happen to be government employees, such as loyalty
    > > to oneself, one's family, one's friends, and even to the
    > > ideal of good public service will in some cases if not
    > > almost all cases be stronger.
    > Well, I'd rank them like this:
    > 1. how does the change affect ME?
    > 2. how does the change affect ME?
    > 3. how does the change affect ME?
    > 4. how does the change affect ME?
    > 5. how does the change affect ME?
    > 6. how does the change affect my retirement?
    > 7. how does the change affect my cronies?
    > 8. how does the change affect my boss?
    > etc. etc.
    > 26. how does this affect my political party?
    > and finally,
    > 73. how does this affect my world or the country.
    > Number 86, "how does this live up to my ideal of 'good public service'
    > is not on my list because government bureaucrats quickly lose their
    > youthful and naive ideals.

    Well I'm not quite that cynical. Peoples positive views of themselves
    are something they sometimes want to retain too. There probably
    is such a thing as someone wanting to do a real public service all
    things being equal.

    Anyway I thought *you* were the one that believed in altruism.


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