Tighten the purse strings

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Tighten the purse strings

We have repeatedly asked civil servants not to waste taxpayers money.

We ve also asked them over and over to refrain from spending the state budget as if it were money from their own pockets. However, civil workers still carelessly spend and waste the state s money.

For confirmation, just scan the analysis of spending in the 2008 fiscal year released recently by the National Assembly Budget Office.

What initially stands out is redundant investment. The Ministry of National Defense s project to integrate and systemize information and data on armament and military supplies was originally supposed to be handled by one organization. But in fact the military, the navy and the defense ministry all worked on the project, increasing costs as a result.

Tens of billions of won (tens of millions of dollars) have been wasted on such inefficient and redundant projects.

In many cases, according to data in the report, projects were drawn up in a sloppy and hasty manner, which led to even more costs than initially planned. A good example of this is the Incheon International Airport Railroad. The demand estimates were way off, and the state must compensate by spending a whopping 14 trillion won over the next 30 years.

Many civil servants still try to get as much money as they can even if they don t yet know what they ll do with the funds. The government reserved more than 300 billion won for one project, saying the fishing industry along the coast must be restructured. But less than one-third of it has been used. This means that the project was pushed ahead only as a way to boost the budget.

It does not mean that the government should no longer use state budgets. Of course, it should if need be. We only mean to say that it must not waste the state s money. The government must compare the benefits of a particular project or effort with the investment required and help save as much money as possible.

The current administration has promised to tighten spending and promote the idea of smaller government. Although everything has changed drastically due to a global economic crisis, the government s determination to be frugal must not change.

To manage the nation s finances in a healthy way, the government should focus on reducing government spending before it delays promised tax cuts or even raises taxes. It must remove redundant spending and waste.

If the government is truly frugal and prudent with its money but still determines that tax increases are necessary, few people will oppose it.
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