I have noticed complaints in the media about spending on Socchi. Some seem to be legitimate; some seem to aim at discrediting the head guy in the Kremlin. Of course, this is not different than all complaints about the cost of the Olympic Games or the soccer World Cup competition. Some citizens in Brazil seem to dislike the increase in bus fares, when the government is spending billions on stadiums for games for which few be able to buy tickets. Or cries of foul against “guest” workers in Qatar, toiling away at building stadiums and infrastructure. More people seemed concerned about the heat, in which the millionaire players will have to perform.
My point is actually about money. All individuals, families, groups, companies, states, nations must plan the spending of limited resources (yes, some do have a budget, but many tend to be elastic). It is an economic reality, that I learned early in life (which was confirmed in school), that there is always too little money for all the needs, wants, etc. That means that someone must decide what gets spent and what is neglected. When one is looking in one’s own wallet, there is no one to blame but oneself for spending decisions. With groups, corporations, and nations, there will always be complainers. Someone will not like the spending decisions, because they feel that someone else has received an unfair advantage.
This is what’s behind the complaints about Socchi. Money is being spent on a glamour project, when most parts of the country are suffering from neglect. People put up with shoddy infrastructure and services, while watching money being heaped on prestige objects for foreigners. Someone in government decided that this is the best use of the nation’s money, so the man on the street can only complain and.
Budgeting is always a game, whether for a family or a corporation. When politics enter the equation, budgeting becomes like trying to run a marathon on rubber stilts.
Many years ago, I joined a troubled company and became responsible for a large budget, which played a role in the fortunes of a global brand. My first task was to cut expenses...and that’s where the battles began. People live very well in the past, thus cannot understand what the future might bring...even with no money. Fiefdoms are fiercely defended, because people can see only their backyard and not the good of the company/organization or--in the case of politicians--the country. Foolish cuts are often made to important expenses, because they are easy, as opposed to effective cuts. Rational thought is rare when defending a budget consisting of money which belongs to the company, not the person responsible for the budget.
If anyone saw the movie, Dave, you might recall the small-town accountant brought to the White House to “fix” the budget. Without constraints of politics, common sense found easy solutions. Unfortunately, real life seldom--if the case of politics, never--runs on common sense...
And people wonder why I'm a cynic....
If we careen over a cliff on Friday and the American government shuts down, hard-working federal workers will stop getting paychecks, but the members of Congress responsible for the shutdown are expected to be paid as usual.The upshot is that federal workers who do important work for the public — cleaning up toxic waste, enrolling sick people into lifesaving medical trials, answering medical hot lines, running national parks, processing passport applications — risk being sent home and going unpaid. But members of Congress would continue to receive $174,000 a year. As the humorist Andy Borowitz wrote in a Twitter message: “That’s like eliminating the fire dept & sending checks to the arsonists.”
There must be some places on this earth that does not have Internet access or newspapers. Such spots must be pleasant, because one could avoid reporting on the idiotic nature of the US government. How can anyone believe in politicians that put non-related issues and lobbyist' interests in front of the needs of citizens? I don't want to even think about this, happy that I live afar.
That said, the solution is simple. There are two ways to run a government, business, or family: figure out how to spend the money you have or obtain the money to pay for things you want. There's plenty of money in the US, but the rich and powerful are unwilling to spend it on taxes to pay for necessary services. By the way, there is waste in every budget, so don't aim for perfection. How much junk does the average family lying around the house, which they have bought, haven't used, and don't need? I have plenty. And, if you want to see government waste, visit the country in which I live, whose citizens willing pay the highest taxes in the world.
The situation in the US is not about money; it's about power and politics...the usual game. The People have no say...until the next election, at which time most will vote against their own best interests.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.