Holding back the flood



Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she will introduce some 'temporary' tax rises to pay for the country's flood damage. And in the UK, the BBC World Service is closing a sixth of its world language services, firing journalists and mothballing transmitters.

Two unrelated stories, you might think, but they show the real problem that liberals have in holding back – never mind reversing – the seemingly unstoppable growth in government.

If Julia Gillard wants to find money to pay for flood damage, why does she not do what the rest of us do in such circumstances? When the rest of us face some domestic emergency, we just have to grit our teeth and cut back somewhere else to find the money. Why is government's answer to every expensive problem a rise in taxes? Why is it not a reduction in less urgent spending elsewhere?

And isn't it amazing that the answer to a 16% cutback in the World Service cutback leads to large chunks of the service being axed completely. Let's not forget that 300 BBC executives were recently exposed as earning more than the Prime Minister. Why not get rid of some of the back-office fat instead of axeing the front-line services?

Short answers only, please.