11 December 2010

Subsidies: how can wasteful spending be controlled?

An example for the way the identity between the executive and legislative arms of government permits the waste of taxpayer money is given by the federal state of Upper Austria. The province spends roughly 1.5 billion Euros on subsidies in a year. That means about 1,000 Euros per head of its population, a not insubstantial sum as it means about 3-4,000 Euros per average family. Naturally, this largess is defended with the argument that laws mandate most of that spending but the undemocratic nature of this spending becomes obvious when one reflects that the same government that spends the money is also identical with the legislative majority that created these 'laws' in the first place. Only a mandatory referendum on all spending measures and a separation of the executive and legislative branch of government will be able to stop abuses such as these.

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