I was accused of trying to shoot fish in a barrel when I proposed a blog on the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union’s ballot for strike action by civil servants on Thursday. However, there is something more universal that is bugging me about it.
Mark Serwotka, the PCS General Secretary, argued that their members should be spared the ‘cynical attempt to cut jobs on the cheap’, because the union had proposed cuts and savings in other sectors.
As I mentioned in my blog post on the Unite and British Airways battle, this is a common tactic for trade unions. However it is not exclusively theirs. President Obama also did this in the earlier stages of the healthcare debate. He argued that Obamacare wouldn’t be as expensive as his critics said it would be, because savings could be made by reducing inefficiency in Medicare and Medicaid.
My problem with this sort of analysis is this: Why should the government’s duty to taxpayers to cut spending be ransomed against plans for more spending? Why cant they just cut all unnecessary costs as and when they identify them?
The solution is to both make the savings as the PCS Union identified them (if they actually are real savings) and then also cut the jobs and payouts of bureaucrats who do very little for the country’s productivity. I can see no earthly reason why we should be limited to one or the other.