Carpe Diem

It’s the national budget announcement today. How much of a change will there be? The problem with government is that the best time to make changes is when people feel generally on the up. This is because even the best proposals to make changes to tax and spend have winners and losers. In the good times a government can afford to help the people who lose out from a change by installing generous transitional arrangements. This is not possible in times of general hardship.

It is in the tough times that people are prepared to consider changes for the future. But there is little money for those very necessary transitional arrangements.

The last government has a lot to answer for. Instead of spending our money from 2004-08 as if there was no tomorrow they could have used it to make necessary changes for the long term. Where was prudence when she was needed?

When the financial crash happened the government did not have a sum of money put aside for a rainy day. Gordon Brown thought it was not necessary. But it was. Humans, from the beginning of time have known that, if you can, you must put supplies aside in case the next kill is a while away, or store your grain in case the next two harvests fail. Today that would mean substantial liquid assets invested cautiously around the world as a trust fund for the people in case of emergency. Circumstance might change but the principles of good husbandry never do.

Although our economy is weaker this government can still make bold moves. The time to make them is now.