Governments all over the world face enormous volumes of debt and deficits. It seems like no matter what nations do, whether it’s tax, borrow or print, there doesn’t seem to be an end to the debt that accumulates.
There is no doubt that many Western governments, such as the United States and Canada, have grown. With an increase in the size of government comes an exorbitant cost, a large sum of which is absorbed by middle men, bureaucrats and politicians themselves.
Of course, the intentions of the aforementioned are well-intended, but many well-intended policies have led to unintended consequences. One aspect of these unintended consequences is wasteful spending and high costs.
This has led to many experts in public policy to ask the question: how can we reduce the costs in government. Indeed, one obvious answer is to tax less, borrow less, print less and spend less, but if anyone who lives in the real world knows government is an incompetent entity.
Here are simple ways governments can reduce spending, no matter how big or small (without taxing more or less).
In this tough economic climate, families and households have tightened their belts and have looked for efficiencies in their monthly budget to save more and spend less. If taxpayers can do it, why can’t government? Unless the bureaucrats at work are practicing Keynesian Economics, public departments, administrations and ministries can definitely find efficiencies in their budgets by cutting 10 percent.
As information technology evolves so must government. Companies adapt to the environment if machines can perform tasks better and more efficiently than their human counterparts. Although a large number of public employees oppose a department installing computers to replace humans, this is one technique governments can utilize to reduce costs.
One of these shifts to electronics is paystubs. The Treasury Department could save millions of dollars if they provided paystubs electronically to their public employees. Financial institutions are already switching to e-statements to reduce costs.
Free lunch (literally)
If you attend a city council meeting, for example, you will find that these councillors are provided with lunches and drinks at the taxpayers’ expense. The cost of this is relatively small on the grander scheme of things ($15 trillion national debt in the United States), but this can go a long way to reduce the annual budget at the local level and inspire others to do so.
This is akin to the means of electronics. A lot of politicians travel all over the city, state (province), country and even the globe to attend meetings and conferences. All of this comes out of the taxpayers’ pockets. But what if these officials held teleconferences instead of spending thousands of dollars on plane tickets? This would decrease budgets substantially.
Any department at any level of government should think carefully before they send three high-ranking officials, and their assistants, to France on the taxpayers’ dime.
Salaries & No. of officials
The salary of an elected official is astounding. If you measure how much a City Councillor, State Senator or Member of Parliament earns annually compared to the private sector, you would be befuddled.
Although there are many leaders out there taking the initiative to receive no pay, donating their salaries to charity, cutting back or taking a pay freeze, there are still governmental leaders in this world who receive the six-figure salary, bloated pension and all expenses paid.
Do we really need all these politicians? Why would a medium-sized city need 44 councillors plus staff? Why should an entire state have two senators? Why are there 441 members of congress?
These are important aspects of reducing costs in government. Maybe a government should not lower the salaries of low-level public employees (at first), but a politician should be the first to receive a significant slash in salary.
Remember, when a bureaucrat spends someone else’s money on someone else, there is going to be unintended consequences.