Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gravy Train Still Running

I don’t know why everyone is so upset about so called “Fat Cats” enjoying hefty pay rises while the rest of us struggle to stretch the budget far enough to buy a box of Weetbix. Really, it must be the Tall Poppy Syndrome. First it was the ongoing expansion of corporate executive pay packets that drew condemnation and now the finger is being pointed at New South Wales bureaucrats. Surely it should come as a comfort in these difficult times to know that at least somebody is prospering.

Despite the New South Wales Government cheerfully admitting that it has miscalculated the State’s budget to the tune of a billion dollar shortfall, it is clearly important to continue paying the top public servants corpulent salaries as an example for the rest of us. No matter that lesser functionaries of the State such as nurses, police officers and fire brigade officers are expected to scrape by with pay increases pegged at 2.5%, well below inflation, it is obvious that to inflict a similar restriction on senior officials would send the wrong message.

It is vitally important that top public servants not only prosper but are seen to prosper, so naturally the current salary of $428 900 is in desperate need of increase to the tune of another $16 727, plus a possible $43 000 recruitment allowance, whatever that means. The State might be going broke, but that’s only all the more reason to make sure the important people at the top get theirs before the money runs out. It all makes perfect sense when you think about it.

So long as the people can see the Fat Cats doing well, they will know that things really aren’t so bad after all. They will know that it is possible to do well, even in the bad times. It will give ordinary people the hope that they too could enjoy the good life if only they are lucky enough or clever enough to make it into one of the top jobs. Ambitious people must have a goal to aim for, something to work towards, and the lure of a big fat salary at the top of the tree gives everybody something aspire to. Without such an incentive people just wouldn’t bother.

A billion dollar black hole might sound bad, but really it’s no big deal. Such an amount can easily be covered by clamping down on wage increases for the front line personnel who actually do the work providing us with all the Government services we depend upon, cutting back on some of that expensive infrastructure program, and waiting for the good times to come again. Besides, there are only a handful of people on the really big money so docking their salaries just wouldn’t actually save the Government as much as you might think anyway.

I know this argument wasn’t what you might have been expecting, but I’m pretty sure this must be the thinking of the New South Wales Government. After all what other explanation could there be for both insulting and shortchanging the hardworking frontline employees, and the taxpayers of New South Wales. After a decade in which not one promise of a major rail project has been delivered, at least one train is still running on time… the gravy train.

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