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The Party’s Over
President Obama Looking for Spending Cuts
By Shane Clarke
London Correspondent
“All I ask is the opportunity to prove that money wouldn’t make me happy.” — Spike Milligan

We’ve had a good run. The money has been flowing – often in the wrong direction, but flowing nevertheless. Governments worldwide have been spending here, there and everywhere, investing in this, that and the other. Now they’ve gone to the global ATM, and it has said to them, “Hi! How much money would you like? 5billion, 10billion, 20billion?”

Nervous at the amount of money they have been spending, governments have hesitantly pressed the button for 10billion.

There is a pause, and then the ATM says, “I don’t think so, mate. And I think you know why.”

So, governments all over the world had to walk away from the ATM, pretending they didn’t actually want any money.

It’s time to tighten the purse strings and drag ourselves out of the quicksand of debt that we are all currently floundering in. Deficit is the watchword of the day, and everyone is looking for a way to deal with it.

US President Barack Obama is one world leader desperately looking for ways to trim spending. He is today (Monday 24th May) sending a proposal to Congress to make it quicker and easier to trim “wasteful” costs from Congressional spending bills.

Obama is looking to pass the “Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act of 2010”, which would speed up the process presidents use to reduce special provisions, often called “earmarks” or “pork”. Lawmakers tag these provisions on to spending bills, making them more expensive.

If Obama’s proposal is accepted then Congress would have to look at his list of proposed spending cuts as a package, without making any amendments. They would then have to give an up or down vote on them within a specified time.

It seems a very protracted way to save money. It’s like my mom saying to us when we were kids that she couldn’t afford an extra packet of biscuits this week and then asking us to vote on whether or not she buys them, instead of just saying no.

This is the problem with politics. Everything has to go through a department or a committee and be voted on and amended then voted on again, so that by the time anything gets done, it’s either too late or the problem has worsened.

And there isn’t just one department or committee – oh no. There’s one for every different thing! And there are endless sub-committees too. If you go to them saying you need urinal cakes for the men’s toilets, you have to prepare a report giving the details of why they’re necessary, a list of suppliers and a list of prices. This goes to the Toilet Committee, who vote on the proposal and make any amendments, and if it’s passed, it will then go to the Toilet Sub-Committee in charge of hygiene products. Finally, if it gets through them, you can procure the urinal cakes, and as you would have expected, you are to buy the cheapest possible and as few as are needed.

When will politicians learn that if they get rid of all these committees and departments they would save themselves a fortune? Perhaps if their relatives were prohibited from working in them…?

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Shane Clarke serves as London Correspondent for The Seoul Times. He has been involved in humanitarian work for numerous years. He’s also a freelance management consultant. Having completed an honors degree in Law at Wolverhampton University, he then moved on to an MBA at Warwick Business School. He’s heavily involved in the fight against international parental child abduction to Japan.






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