Monday, November 1, 2010

It’s MY MONEY dammit!

There’s an old expression that goes something like “Look after the pennies and the dollars will look after themselves.”

meeting room$24 Million dollars isn’t a huge amount as a percentage of the tens of billions of dollars spent by the government every year. But put $24 million for 4 temporary meeting rooms in the context of that old adage and it serves as an apt example of why governments and the highly proficient spendthrifts who work for them have absolutely no fiscal credibility.

I live in a rural area. We have a population of about 5,000 people spread over 1000 square kilometres. We have a Town Hall, arena, library, fire service, road maintenance, and all the other amenities you would expect in a rural area. And our municipal budget is under $6 million per year.

So the cost of those 4 temporary meeting rooms would run our township for 4 years, with some left over for decent coffee and really good doughnuts at the council meetings.

But someone in the upper reaches of the federal bureaucracy decided $24 million was a fair price to pay for 4 temporary meeting rooms. And someone at the political level (I assume) signed off on it.

Is it because when you are used to dealing in billions a few million here or there don’t actually show up on anyone’s radar? Are we all so inured to the $50 billion deficit and the multi-billion F-35 deal (numbers which no normal person can even begin to get their head around) that neither the MSM nor the politicos understand that $24 million is still real money?

Because all those billions are spent a few million at a time, and someone should be paying attention.

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