15 July 2015
by Rossleigh

A Government Is Not A Business, Repeat A Government Is NOT A Business

Both the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court have operated at a loss for a number of years.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 15th July, 2015

If you run a public listed company, you have an obligation to try and maximise the return to shareholders. Of course, there are legal and moral qualifications for this, but basically, companies listed on the stock exchange exist to make a profit.

Governments exist to prevent anarchy.

Let me, repeat that for you, because it’s something that we all know, but, somehow, it seems to have been forgotten. Governments exist to prevent anarchy – they are there to set the laws by which the courts make their decisions and so that we know which side of the road to drive on. (And, of course, they once existed to build the roads as well, but now we seem to like the idea that companies can build the roads and we can pay to drive on them.)

Of course, some left wing types would argue that anarchy is a perfectly satisfactory thing and that the world is a chaotic and unpredictable place, so pass the spray can because I’m an anarchist and I once joined an anarchy group which disintergrated when we could agree on the rules.

Others, believe in anarchy as a system of economics. Some economists argue that there’s simply no need for anybody to organise the economy, while arguing that it’s absolutely necessary to have economists like them, telling us that there’s absolutely nothing that they need to be doing. It’s called letting the “free market” run things because government interference is a truly bad thing because it allows unprofitable businesses to continue.

As Mr Abbott argued earlier this week, solar and wind are now established technologies so they shouldn’t need the support of the government. The CEFC should be helping fund those industries which are still in their experimental stage and not profitable, while it simultaneously makes a bigger profit than when it was funding these “established”, profitable industries. This is why the Abbott Government gives subsidies to the fossil fuel industry: It’s still very much in its infancy. One can see this by the tantrums it throws every time its position is threatened.

Government’s do not exist to make a profit. They are not a busines. From time to time, a surplus may be good. Other times, a deficit may be right for the economy. And, apart from that, if the government isn’t simply balancing its budget then it’s taking money off the taxpayer and not giving back an appropriate level of service. Imagine if you employed someone to put clean the windows in your house and they announced that they hadn’t cleaned three of the windows but this was a good thing, because it improved their profit margin. Well, that’s sort of what we’re being asked to accept from governments.

And given that we always told that – even by conservatives – that the government had a role in providing the services that were necessary but either too large or too unprofitable for private industry, then it strikes me as some sort of strange logic, that when there are so many complaints when the unprofitable services aren’t making a profit.

I remember some Victorian MP telling us that public housing had been unprofitable for years and that they were attempting to fix this. ????

And so we’re told that both the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court have operated at a loss.

I wasn’t aware that courts were meant to make a profit. But hey, it seems that everything is to be judged on whether or not it’s profitable.

Now, I don’t know if the politicians are aware of this, but Parliament House isn’t actually profitable either. Yeah, sure, it makes laws and stuff, but once you take into account all the cleaning and security staff, as well as the politicians themselves, then it has enormous liabilities that the returns from the Queen’s Terrace cafe and the Parliament House Shop go nowhere near covering.

In an effort to put this drain on the public purse, I’m proposing that we should have mass redundancies. Halve the number of politicians. Those that are left can be responsible for cleaning their own office, as well as paying a cleaning levy for the rest of the building. Security can be reduced, because like wind farms, they are an eyesore and there is some concern that they could be a health hazard
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As for the Houses themselves, well, sitting days are so rare, I propose that they could be rented out for seminars and the occasional music concert on days when Parliament is not sitting.

And to further enhance the profits, people could sponsor Bills by paying for them to be debated. After all, if people aren’t prepared to pay for something, then it can’t really be worth anything, can it? While this may seem controversial, it’s only a slight change from the current arrangements, except that instead of money going to the various political parties, it goes straight to revenue base of Parliament.

Mm, perhaps we should all reflect on this quote from John Lanchester:

The economic metaphor came to be applied to every aspect of modern life, especially the areas where it simply didn’t belong. In fields such as education, equality of opportunity, health, employees’ rights, the social contract and culture, the first conversation to happen should be about values and principles; then you have the conversation about costs, and what you as a society can afford.

Meanwhile, I see Mr Hockey held a press conference to tell Australia that our economy isn’t affected by what’s happening in Greece and China, because we have “momentum”. Mr Hockey told us: “So far as I am concerned and the Treasury is concerned, our budget forecasts for the Chinese economy remain unchanged.

Well, that’s a relief. The forecasts remain unchanged. Forget events. It’s those forecasts that count. And the forecasts remain unchanged. Awesome! Plus I understand that it’s the Year of the Goat according to the Chinese Horoscope, which the person in the newsagency informed me means that we should all wear red. Or they may have said that I was “well read”… He was hard to understand because he was mumbling, and I didn’t like to ask him to repeat themselves for fear that they’d notice I had no intention of buying the Murdoch paper that I’d been reading.

Mr Hockey went on to tell the gathered press that Mr Bowen’s accusation that the government had been “asleep at the wheel” was just plain wrong, assuring everyone that the government was definitely not asleep at the wheel, but had found a nice, shady spot, pulled over and was having a nap in the back seat, while allowing Mr Turnbull to go and play on the road.

In response to various requests, I am investigating the possibility of a satire font, so that people know when I’m making it up and when I’m actually quoting the government, but until such time I wish to make it clear that the following things from previous writings are actually true, in spite of seeming like there were made up: