As we've blogged before, government waste is not unique to Britain. From America to China governments are routinely incinerating billions of taxpayers' funds on their half-baked and often nefarious schemes.
Today we get more findings from the US Congressional inspection team set up to monitor the disbursement of US taxpayers' funds on reconstruction in Iraq. For a moment we should set aside what we may think about the invasion and occupation themselves, and consider this:
"Congress has approved $21bn for reconstruction since the invasion, of which 67% has been allocated. Precisely how much has been squandered is not known but the congressional team...highlights the case of a US company which was given a contract to build 150 health centres in Iraq. Only six have been built in spite of 75% of its allocated $186m having been spent...many Iraqis still have no access to clean water, and electricity supplies in Baghdad are still below pre-invasion levels...projects "failed to meet goals because they were burdened by a lack of clear management structure and poor accountability. There were also indications of potential fraud"...a former contractor and former senior staffer in the now defunct US-led coalition government are facing jail sentences on corruption charges..."
Now, Iraq is a tragic mess. We all know that. But this is yet another illustration of how waste, inefficiency, and corruption accompany governments everywhere.
And as we wait for the axe to fall on the incompetent dishonest clowns currently sitting round our cabinet table, we need to remember that. It's no good expecting things to improve simply by replacing one load of politicians with another. Always and everywhere, the only surefire way to reduce waste and corruption is to downsize government.