Government Cuts: Wrestling the Economic Beast
The news that government has introduced a plan to the private sector to cut $400 million from the budget starting with the Transport Board (TB) does not come as a surprise to BU. The issue of financial indiscipline and a ballooning subsidy at the TB which has encroached on malfeasance has been ventilated in several blogs. The irony is that former Minister John Boyce was rewarded for his ‘good’ work after the February general election with a transfer to the ministry of health which commands a greater allocation of government’s budget.
The political rhetoric which was showered on a gullible public during the February 2013 general election has been replaced with the sober reality that government’s widening current deficit and chronic negative growth must by wrestled to the ground, and soon. As distant as 3 years ago several BU commenters joined others in wider society in calling for better management of government’s resources. The government (until recently) had remained steadfast in its decisionmaking driven by political expediency rather than confront the harsh financial reality which was visible to even fools.
The country has had to pay a high price because of the 2013 General Election. Some will argue the one year of drift which affected the country because of the illness of the late Prime Minister David Thompson spurred the economic decline. Truth be told we did not take all measures to make the best decisions during the boom years. There is a lot of blame to be shared by both political parties for the economic mess we currently find ourselves.
Some will argue that it is too late to get the nose up from the ‘economic dive’. And that we are at the stage where those to don life vests will have the responsibility to rebuild. Time will tell. Our over-dependence on tourism, the fact that our main tourist markets will continue to struggle for the foreseeable future with anaemic growth in the US, a struggling UK and Canada’s economy beginning to slow all combine to promise a negative outlook.
It is easy to say that BU’s greatest disappointment is the extent to which our current crop of leaders dithered and fiddled on the deck of the burning ship. This will be the legacy of this group of misfits in the political and private sector arenas. How public workers who were disingenuously assured that their jobs will be protected react to austerity measures is left to be seen. By definition of jobs we mean protecting incomes. Whether the private sector and ministers in government are prepared to take a % haircut to show solidarity with public sector is left to be seen.
In the face of adversity confidence to wrestle the ‘economic beast’ is a necessary condition to drive success. What is the national conversation currently being stoked by our leader to whip the masses in the direction they must go. If there is any opportunity to correct the economic flight plan it must happen by design.
In a next blog we will continue the conversation about how the people must respond.