Opinion We should stop paying civil servants to balance the Budget

Discussion in 'Budget 2019' started by BilliamD75, 4 Dec 2018.

  1. BilliamD75

    BilliamD75 Registered User

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    Would it be better if we had one term politician's or better still no government allowed to borrow money to pay wages and pensions in the civil service and stop the cycle of borrowing/paying interest which will consume the income tax receipts in the coming years
     
  2. Deiseblue

    Deiseblue Frequent Poster

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    Last edited: 5 Dec 2018
    We are and have been borrowing to run the country and your idea is to simply stop paying public sector wages and pensions! ( I presume you meant the public sector as a whole rather than just civil servants who are just a small sub section of the public sector ? )
    Do you think that public sector employees and their unions may not readily submit to such a misguided and delusional plan.
    I can only presume that your post was made tongue in cheek
     
    Last edited: 5 Dec 2018
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  3. BilliamD75

    BilliamD75 Registered User

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    You cannot borrow indefinitely to pay wages regardless of what the public service or there union's might think. It's misguided to think otherwise, the money is going to run out, good financial governance would suggest to stay in budget, when you have career politicians with no qualifications in charge of other people's money (tax payers of course) the outcome usually ends up costing the tax payer more,
     
  4. Deiseblue

    Deiseblue Frequent Poster

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    The country cannot be run without the public sector - the idea of simply not paying wages and pensions is ludicrous.
    The country would simply grind to a halt.
     
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  5. BilliamD75

    BilliamD75 Registered User

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    Well of course you need the public sector paid for by the private sector taxation, yes your right the country will grind to a halt when the money runs out due to excessive demands by the public sector, you don't need a crystal ball to see this coming from afar, it's the tail go wag the dog.
     
  6. cremeegg

    cremeegg Frequent Poster

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    While I certainly would like to see less government borrowing

    This is not as true as it might appear. As long as the national income keeps growing then it is possible to borrow indefinitely for current expenditure.

    It could be argued that government borrowing supports future growth. If we stopped paying schoolteachers, future growth in the economy would be less.
     
  7. Páid

    Páid Frequent Poster

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    The public sector are not the only people to pay taxes (in fact, taxes come from a huge variety of sources). Just because you pay taxes, it doesn't give you the right to decide what is done with those taxes.
     
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  8. BilliamD75

    BilliamD75 Registered User

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    Yes socialists pay tax on there spending with the free money paid for by the private sector, because of the arrogance and incompetence of the public sector to not stay within budget backed by unqualified career politicians the money will run out. The country has record employment and low unemployment, when the business cycle turns and it will soon what happens is lower employment and higher unemployed causing the budget to collapse, raise taxes on the private sector. No chance they will have their own problems with higher interest rates on their mortgages as will the government paying 8% interest on roll over debt. The snow ball effect comes in play here. These are broad strokes, however follow the money and you will see what's coming down the road for this country,
     
  9. odyssey06

    odyssey06 Frequent Poster

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    Borrowing should only be to fund capital account expenditure.

    Public servants should receive a 'bonus', based on whether the state revenues are in surplus or deficit - instead of just increasing wages in the good years and then stuck trying to pay them out in the bad. Similar to private companies where if they made no money, there is no bonus. In bad years for the country, there would be no bonus. In boom years, there would be a bonus. It would also help encourage public servants to see the connection between what they do and the success of the economy. This flexibility will be much easier than trying to cut base pay in next downturn.
     
  10. noproblem

    noproblem Frequent Poster

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    Going on your logic people in the retail sector shouldn't be paid when there's no shoppers in the premises purchasing goods, hotels should hold back wages for staff because some rooms aren't occupied, guards only get paid when crimes are solved, etc, etc, etc. Mayve you'd like Ireland to become the only debt free nation in the world?
     
  11. cremeegg

    cremeegg Frequent Poster

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    That is exactly what happens, it’s called redundancy.

    There was a lot of it about a few years ago.
     
  12. cremeegg

    cremeegg Frequent Poster

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    Why not?
     
  13. BilliamD75

    BilliamD75 Registered User

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    Odyssey 06 there are other ways to fund capital projects without borrowings it's unfortunate the private citizens do not trust government to invest as they keep moving the goal posts so to speak, you points about civil servants is very valid though
     
  14. Páid

    Páid Frequent Poster

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    Because that is the role of the Dept. of Finance.
     
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  15. Sophrosyne

    Sophrosyne Frequent Poster

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    I am struggling to understand your logic.

    Take hospitals or schools for a start. Health and education must be provided whether or not there is a recession, unless you think these services should be dramatically cut - all fine until it affects you or yours.

    During the last recession thousands of people in the private sector were laid off. Who should have processed the considerable increase in welfare claims?

    According to the IFAC, we would have been in surplus for the past two years were it not for health overspends.

    Surely that should be the matter for discussion. As I understand it part of the reason for the overspend is the engagement of agency nurses, who are considerably more expensive than their public sector counterparts.
     
  16. odyssey06

    odyssey06 Frequent Poster

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    Last edited: 5 Dec 2018
    We shouldn't be borrowing to pay day to day expenses.
    If we haven't got the money there must be either (A) cuts somewhere, or (B) look at where the money is going to get better efficiencies.
    Of course it would be preferable if it's (B) but right now neither seems to happening as the easy out of borrowing is taken.
    If we have a surge in welfare claims then reduce the payout. Don't commit to wage increases for public servants that you can't sustain (that's where the flexibility of the 'bonus' comes in).

    ps with the bonus I don't mean public servants don't get paid in bad years; I mean they get their basic wage but not their 10% / 20% topup bonus.
     
    Last edited: 5 Dec 2018
  17. Sunny

    Sunny Frequent Poster

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    Is it Aprils Fools Day or something??
     
  18. Sophrosyne

    Sophrosyne Frequent Poster

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    Sorry Odyssey, but I don’t understand the logic of bonuses.

    Perhaps you are confusing the cost of provision of services and all that entails with the cost of pay and pensions.

    Civil and public sector pay and pensions as a whole was 36.3% of current expenditure in 2017 and an estimated 36.7% in 2018.

    Of course, it is less when reduced by income tax, USC and PRSI.

    Of the above figures, 41% refers to those employed in health and 35% to those in education, i.e., 76% combined.

    In the health service, agency nursing expenditure increased from €54 million in 2007 to €100 million in 2017.
     
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  19. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

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    It is a nonsense to equate what State employees get paid with the quality of the services that the State delivers.
    We have massive waste and very bad value for money but that's not because people are overpaid (or underpaid), it is because of the inefficient structures and lack of sanction and accountability at all levels and lack of skills. All of those factors are the fault of those in charge, primarily the Departmental Secretaries and Senior officials in the Departments and the respective Ministers offices. The solution is thousands of small solutions. We should cut spending through greater efficiency and better accountability. We've had all sorts of scandals in health and policing but those responsible just retire. They should be facing criminal charges and long terms in prison. How can we criticise people for being inefficient when the people in charge make them inefficient because of how they tell them to do their job? This is a country, not a corner shop. Change will take time, decades. I believe that it is already happening but at to slow aa pace and in to ad hoc a fashion.

    The best way to get people to do their jobs better is to talk to them and ask them what they would change. Change doesn't mean more of the same, it means the same doing more with equal of less effort.
    In my experience process improvement makes people more productive, obviously, but it also makes them less stressed and happier in their job.
    We don't need grand gestures but we do need a plan with clear goals and clear objectives in areas such as health. We then need a ruthless adherence to that plan. Toyota, who invented LEAN (lead by two American academics) have a efficiency improvement percentage target if 1.5% per annum. That doesn't sound like much but over 40 years it makes a massive difference. Given that we are starting at a lower base maybe we should set a target of a 50% increase in efficiency. At a 2.5% per annum increase in efficiency (or reduction in systemic waste) would give us that 50% from our baseline in 16.5 years. There's no need to sack anyone, natural wastage will take care of numbers, there's no need for pay cuts, there's no need for strikes. There is a need for massive changes to work practice and retraining and, more than anything, a massive change in mindset, but if the result is more stress and a heavier workload then you are doing it wrong.
     
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