Every now and then a â€˜commentator’ pops up who is so hilariously incompetent you don’t know whether to ignore them or mock them. In Bernard Hickey‘s case, it’s been the former because the man’s work is so bad – his numbers don’t add up half the time, his understanding of economics would have had my high school econ teacher reaching for his red pen, and his arguments show no consistency (one day he was mocking a government website for not being up to his expectations, next day he was attacking the Government for advertising to hire web designers). But seeing as Hickey announced two weeks ago that we would be chronicling an example of government waste every day, I thought it might be interesting to pop in and see how far he’s got.
Not very far. He’s managed just five posts on government waste, most of which are repetitive, and none of which offer any evidence (no, Bernard, bald assertion is not evidence) that the spending he has identified is wasteful. Even then, he claims only $450 million (0.75%) of government spending is â€˜wasteful’. Cutting this ‘waste’ would come at the cost of destroying all the government’s policy development capability, never hiring any staff, not having any websites, not having any staff to communicate government policies and activities to the public, and breaking the collective agreement with the PSA, through which government workers won a fifth week’s annual leave after five years’ service. Bernard’s worked out a $2.70 a week tax cut for us, and it will only set us back one functioning public sector. That’s not a tax cut; that’s us being paid a couple of bucks to shoot ourselves in the foot.
On June 1, Hickey promised us one post per working day post on government waste until the election. That was his last post on the topic. I guess that, like National with it’s â€˜wastewatch‘ website, Hickey has found that empty bluster is easier than substance.