At present, in the UK, we are beset by two fervours: the forthcoming elections and the tragic demise of His Holiness Pope John Paul.
Now, I make no secret of the fact that I am Christian: an Anglican.
For many years – too many – there existed a rift in the Catholic Church and the Church of England. As a simple soul, I ascribe this to passions of the flesh, experienced by King Henry V111, who seemed to change his wives almost as regularly as normal mortals change their underwear.
Since the Pope, at that time, refused to provide King Henry an annulment, he effectively formed his own church. Since those turbulent Tudor times, both churches managed to progress, through phases of burning and torturing heretics, to the point where, today, they are closer than ever.
The media, however, in what can only be described as a godless morally bankrupt society, have entered feeding frenzy mode! That is until today. Suddenly, the life and times of probably the greatest contemporary guardian of the Holy See, has been sidelined, by the latest mega-story.
The British General Election.
Media coverage is to say the least, dumb: the majority of the electorate, have little or no ability to understand the dynamics of our nation state. Both Tony Blair and Michael Howard, the two main protagonists, carefully chose lightweight and immediate topics, able to be understood by the important middle group, who have no knowledge of recent political history and the ramifications of Cause-Effect.
Mr Blair talks volumes about “A Better Future With Labour!”, his main campaign slogan. Mr Howard, the Tory leader, talks big about crime, law and disorder and education, neatly forgetting that as Home Secretary, under Thatcher, he was responsible for presiding over the Home Office, the guardians and promulgators of law and order and particularly, jurisprudence, during a time in our history, when it all started going wrong. What “Better Future” might we anticipate with Labour? The invasion of Iran, when Mr Blair again performs his tame poodle act to Bush’s ringmaster?
But, of course, the electorate have short memories: very short.
What has all this to with economics, I can hear you asking.
Well, it’s strange, as I’ve stated before, how various disparate subjects seem to coalesce in one’s brain.
In my professional capacity, I have the onerous and weighty obligation of dealing with civil servants and government bodies, on a daily basis.
Presently, I am process of attempting to process my late Mother’s estate. Should be simple. Huh!
Apparently, the Probate Office, the government organisation (and part of the Courts system), have lost my application.
The plaintive excuse “Can’t find it on the computer!”, was quoted.
Without boring you, dear reader (I’m sure we’ve all been here), I had to then waste an hour of my professional time, checking with my bank that my check had cleared and online, checking with what we now call “The Royal Mail Lose A Letter Service”, that my Recorded Delivery item (we use Recorded Delivery to prove, or in fact, try and prove, that a post item has actually been delivered!).
Having established the facts (which I knew already), I re-telephoned the Probate Office and yet another clerk found my application on the computer system!
So, I posit the rhetorical question, “What are we paying for?”
Today, civil servants enjoy the best pension in the UK: index linked with a wide raft of side benefits. But, what value do we the patient taxpayer receive in return? Not a lot, is the inescapable answer.
OK, the concept of complete Fiscal Reform is not new. Economists, Strategists and Analysts have kicked this ball about since forever.
I pose a further rhetorical question: if the US and the UK abandoned much of its useless, self-serving bureaucracy and applied the released capital, cost and human resource to the development and sales of value goods, would this not have a greater positive effect on the betterment of human life and budgetary and trade deficits?
Enjoying an eclectic email correspondence, I was particularly amused by the following from “Bob”.
Enclosed is my 2005 Form 1040, together with payment. Please take note of the attached article from "USA Today" archives. In the article, you will note that the Pentagon paid $171.50 each for hammers and NASA paid $600.00 each for toilet seats.
Please find enclosed in this package four toilet seats (value $2,400.00) and six hammers (value $1,029.00). This is in payment for my total tax due of $3,429.00.
Out of a sense of patriotic duty, and to assist in the political
purification of our government, I am also enclosing a 1.5 inch Phillips head screw, for which HUD duly recorded and approved a purchase value of $2200, as my contribution to fulfil the Presidential Election Fund option on Form 1040.
It has been a pleasure to pay my taxes this year, and I look forward to paying them again next year in accordance with officially established government values.
Another satisfied American taxpayer
There is little more I can say, hereafter.
Perhaps just one closing comment.
Isn’t it about time that we all questioned what Government does in our name and with our money, more closely?
© Copyright 2005 by AxisofLogic.com
Bio and Additional Articles by Michael Feltham