Comments on The Australian’s articles on Rudd government’s spending on schools as part of its economic stimulus program, “Schools infrastructure fund under fire” by Justine Ferrari, “Hall costs go through the roof” by Natasha Bita, “Rules bent as 'facelift' funds spent on laptops” by Pia Akerman and Natasha Bita, 13/06/2009
There are 3 articles in The Australian today on the federal government’s spending on schools to build school halls, libraries and so on, as part of Rudd/Swan economic stimulus package. There was also mentioning that The Australian has published a series articles on this topic, including one on Thursday by Professor Peter Newman.
I did not read Newman’s article, but have read the 3 articles today online. The first article reported concerns by several prominent education experts, including Professor Ken Wiltshire whom I happen to know. The other articles mentioned waste out of proportion in building costs and bending of rules for funding purposes.
From what they say I can sense that there is enormous waste. For example, the costs for building some school halls are now 2-3 times of experts’ estimates. Besides, some of them questioned whether the funding is of priority for education in general and those schools in particular.
This is another example that Rudd / Swan government is wasting taxpayers’ money in the guise of stimulating the economy. It is to the best a simplistic approach to stimulus fiscal policy through ignorance and a poor understanding of economics and government policies; and extreme reckless and irresponsible to the worst.
It might be a simplistic approach, because they might just thought if you increase government spending it will be stimulating to the economy. It is a poor understanding of the GDP identity where G is a component of the outputs. It could be due to poor economics, perhaps.
It might be extreme reckless and irresponsible, because that is Rudd’ one of revolutions. He has said a few revolutions, including education revolution. In their mind, if it is a revolution, costs of doing it does not matter any more because it is the right cause and justifiable.
So here they come, the school stimulus, the national broadband network to homes of optical fibber of the order of $43 billions without any prior proper business study, the cash handouts for stimulating the economy.
As a taxpayer, I have become concerned with the Rudd / Swan approach to these things. Today’s articles in the Australian appear to validate my concerns. The question is how Rudd / Swan can be made to change their approaches and start to be responsible.
How that question will be answered remains to be seen.