Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Australian Senator offers budget alternatives

Fire public servants, cut welfare, stop funding research; David Leyonhjelm's libertarian budget | - David Leyonhjelm, Financial Review

April 27, 2015 - "In its first budget the Abbott government dabbled with a theme of spending restraint and return to surplus.... Now, as the government prepares its second budget, it is dabbling with a theme of 'nothing dramatic'... But the case for spending restraint and a rapid return to surplus is as strong as ever.....So my plan is to cut more than $30 billion out of annual appropriation bills, which usually authorise around $140 billion in spending....

"I would not allow any spending on new policies or capital equipment (other than defence equipment) in the annual appropriation bills....

"I would then cut various existing programs that are not protected by an enduring appropriation.... A good number of these may actually be unconstitutional, given that the Commonwealth has no explicit authority in section 51 of the Constitution.....

"I would cut foreign aid..... Apart from the commitment of military and public health resources in response to natural disasters, the government does not need to be philanthropic on our behalf. Individual Australians who care about conditions in other countries can and should be encouraged to make donations from their own wallets.

"I would cut Commonwealth spending on the health bureaucracy, because healthcare is a state responsibility and government support is best provided directly to individuals rather than to health departments and institutions.

"I would also cut spending that promotes healthy lifestyles, as how we live is none of the government's business. I would nonetheless retain spending on immunisation, which provides benefits beyond the individuals who receive the vaccine.

"I would cut industry assistance, including for exporters, agriculture, the sports industry, the arts industry, and that part of the broadcasting industry we call the ABC and SBS. This is just corporate welfare for the favoured few.

"I would cut government spending on research. It crowds out philanthropic and business support, which would provide greater discipline to the direction of research.

"And I would cut indigenous programs, because race should not determine access to government services.

"Commonwealth grants for regions, infrastructure and schools that are in annual appropriations bills would be cut, because they are areas of state responsibility. I would cut spending on climate change programs because, among other things, I see the reality of global inaction. And I would cut other areas of symbolic spending such as the Human Rights Commission, family studies, and gender equality....

"My spending cuts would mean at least 15,000 public servants lost their jobs....  For the public servants that remain, I propose to cut their pay by 10 per cent. After a decade in which pay and employment grew faster in the public sector than the private sector, this is a reasonable option. And yes, politicians' pay should be cut by the same amount.

"Overall, my approach would deliver a surplus in the coming financial year, based on available numbers, without resorting to tax hikes."

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