May 26, 2010

Cut State Services

Posted in Your Ideas · 6 comments ·
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Regardless of your political beliefs or allegiances, there appears to be one major fallacy permeating current government behaviour, which is the fundamentally bemusing notion that the State can continue to provide the same level of services as before when it is an undisputed fact that the State has significantly less revenue available to fund such services. None of us are so delusional as to expect that we would be able to maintain the same level of lifestyle if we suddenly found ourselves facing a massive drop in income, certainly we wouldn’t enjoy accepting that fact but in real terms we simply wouldn’t have a choice.

During the boom times, the public sector grew enormously and this growth was fuelled and funded by similar growth in exchequer revenues. Now instead of committing economic suicide by electing to raise taxes to punitive levels that will discourage enterprise and cause further economic depression – a move which is basically a crudely disguised self-indulgent smash and grab by a public sector that appears to feel that it is perfectly ok to take money out of the pockets of individuals in the private sector in order to maintain their own standards of living to the detriment of others — the government simply has to face up to the plain and simple fact that it will have to cut state services as we as a Nation can’t afford to maintain the current levels.

However, this realisation needs to go further than just the government. Every citizen in the country also has to accept this unpopular fact. Yes, you won’t like it, lots of you will be giving out and it won’t be nice and it definitely won’t be fair to many people. Unfortunately the economics of life are not fair and the stark economic reality is that we as a State just can’t afford it. Cry all you want, in the end it won’t make a difference as we still won’t be able to afford it and the fact that our current government doesn’t want to face this reality and seems happy to bring the country to its knees with significant tax increases that will ultimately prove self-defeating is a grim reminder of the immense leadership vacuum that exists across the entire political spectrum in this country.

Given that it will probably be a cold day in hell before our politicians will genuinely earn their generous salaries by engaging in real and serious cost-cutting restructuring of the public sector in order to streamline it into a more efficient and much leaner machine capable of maintaining current service levels at a lower cost, the only realistic alternative is to cut the level of services provided by the State.


  1. DJACKW

    I don’t think we need this scorched earth policy.It’s like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

    Instead I suggest that a thorough analysis of government policy on the procurement of goods and services would probably reveal that we are wasting huge amounts of tax payers money on inefficient inter agency services, consulting reports, unnecessary capital equipment purchases, unnecessary infrastructure projects in political party ‘sensitive areas’, unnecessary or inefficiently placed human resource numbers, inefficient and protracted tendering processes…and I could go on!

    Bottom line we should not need to sacrifice quality of care in health services, quality of education or transfer of public services, we just need to look at the waste in this very wasteful system!

  2. jor200

    The entire structure needs to change. Government needs to tax and regulate and then get out of the way. Currently a section of the population feels that the taxpayer owes them a living.
    The banks are the new scapegoats. Far be it from me to defend the banks but even if the cost of the bailout is €30bn that is only 6 months Government spending at current levels. We cannot continue the post-war socialist nonsense of the last 60 years when Irish Governments of all stripes robbed the taxpayer and semi-state and state employees lived off the fat of the land before a cushy retirement.

  3. LKSteve

    I feel I must comment on this post. It’s waffle. Waffle, Waffle, Waffle. The country is basically insolvent, a bankrupt joke. The Euro zone can’t & won’t survive so let’s stop fooling ourselves. Toying with state services will not sort out this mess. It’s time to wield the AXE. First to go should be the entire political establishment. Yes, all local authority & ministerial posts should be de-established with immediate effect & our so-called democracy should be put into cold storage. Bring in professional, proven change managers from the private sector to put the public sector in order. I think a sound objective would be to reduce the public sector headcount by 70%. Get rid of the Department of Social Protection completely. Retain the old age pension & disability benefit but anyone who is able bodied should be forced to work. I’m not suggesting communism, I’m suggesting ultra-capitalism. The bottom line is the pseudo-socialist public sector has been living a parasitical existence off the back of the private sector for too long. It’s time to end this. Communism didn’t work, socialism doesn’t work. The only thing that works is capitalism. Capitalism+Extremely small government = A highly competitive & flexible economy.

  4. professore

    A few points:
    1. The State can’t afford Anglo either but yet continues to pay for it.
    2. @LKSteve: How do you incentivise the capitalists you bring in to run the country ? Who measures their performance ? Capitalism is about making money FOR YOURSELF.That’s why it works.

    I absolutely agree the public sector needs a headcount decrease and reform, but we need to see who can do it.

  5. gaffer

    Speaking purely from a project management perspective, all govt. initiatives/programs such as creating jobs/winding up Anglo Irish Bank/Welfare State reforms etc should have publically available KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) against all progress (if any made). This would clearly outline running costs/successes/timescales etc and hold the govt. more easily to account. No project should be undertaken without first publishing accountable KPIs.

    • Amanda Whelan

      Can any Journalist please do an over all on other politicans outside interests ie however many of them are in business, how many of them have varied interests in business and how many of them lost any money at all?? questions that need to be asked for a fair distribution of funds from the IMF thanks

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