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The Biggest Parasite?

The recent disclosure of taxpayer funded expenses claimed by British politicians caused a lot of embarrassment and a few resignations there. Now the same process is happening in New Zealand and its beginning to look like some of our politicians should be starting to feel a bit uncomfortable as well, especially the latest victim of the process, Bill English.

I haven’t seen any real evidence that anyone has actually broken the rules but it seems clear to me that English certainly hasn’t worked within the spirit of them. Normally I wouldn’t worry about this too much but we are constantly getting messages of how the rest of us have to economise and might have to accept job cuts. Would it not be a good example from our leaders to do the same?

On the other hand, I know that these extra benefits are part of their pay deal and that the politicians’ base salaries, considering the amount of responsibility, aren’t that high. Also, senior managers in the private sector get paid a lot more and waste a lot more money so what is the real difference?

At this point I expect my right-wing opponents to say something like “the private sector can pay whatever it likes because its their money”. Well, believe it or not, I disagree!

When I pay for my services from the private sector (for my Vodafone cell phone use, for example) a part of that goes to the extravagant pay and extra benefits the management get. And I have no real choice because the competition are just as bad and realistically I need a cell phone to function as an IT consultant in the modern world. So really operating my cell phone is as much a compulsory charge as paying taxes.

In the bigger context I don’t think I’m too worried about the politicians extravagant use of public money because (despite the common pro-business propaganda out there) the private sector are wasting my money even worse, and they steal it just as much (or worse) than any tax I have to pay.

I know that two wrongs don’t make a right but I don’t think its fair to single out politicians as being parasites. Sure they are, but not to the same extent as the corrupt incompetents running our big companies!

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