Public Cash

I enjoyed this article by Ben Eltham on government spending.

It’s easy to decry the money that goes to government bodies, but largely public sector funds go toward supporting those public services which could not survive on private terms. Welfare is never gonna  be a money-spinner. Nor is health. Nor is education.

We’re lucky to live in a country that values those things enough to “waste” money on them.

It would be sad to ever see Australia’s health care system become like that in the US, just because governments think they can win votes by trimming their budgets and delivering tax cuts.

I’m always amazed by people who think there is no need for a public health system, or unemployment benefits, sickness benefits, etc. Amazed not just because they don’t care about people other than themselves, but also because they are *so confident* that they will never have the bad luck to be in the situation where they will need that support.

What must it be like to be so convinced of your own luckiness?


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One Response to Public Cash

  1. Yes, that confidence always amazes me, too. Another example is when people complain that their workplace isn’t hard enough on under-performers: they should be out the door immediately, they say. Whereas I’m always thinking, “how far from that am I?” I could so easily screw up, get burnt out, or have something happen on in my personal life that crashes my productivity for months at a time. Are they so sure they won’t?

    But most of the studies suggest that people strongly underestimate how much effect luck has in life. If someone is poor, most people believe on some level that they deserve it. I read recently of a study in which two people were assigned a task to work on together and then asked to rate their own and each others’ performance. When one person was being paid and the other wasn’t (or was being paid less), the person with the higher pay rated the other person’s performance as lower than if they were getting paid the same. This held true even if the person who would be getting paid was determined by the flip of a coin at the start of the exercise, and both participants knew it!

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