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Public money should not be used to limit choices

Budget: Public money should not be used to engineer people’s choices

“Governments always have an inflated appreciation for their ability to spend other people’s money more wisely than those who earned it—especially at Budget time. We hope that Dr Cullen will, in Thursday’s Budget, remember that individuals and families tend to spend their own money more wisely than government officials, as they know best what they need,” says Maxim Institute CEO, Greg Fleming.

“It is generally agreed that governments should spend public money to supply core public services such as defence and law and order, which only government can provide.”

“But no government can or should use public funds to try and engineer its own vision of a perfect society. Ultimately, doing so will strip away people’s ability to make meaningful choices. Government should undertake its core responsibilities well, and leave society free to grow and flourish on its own terms,” says Fleming.

“Whenever governments presume that they can make better choices than the people, they usually end up eroding both freedom and responsibility.”

“Subsidies for day-care and early childhood education are two recent examples of government spending designed to engineer people’s choices—specifically to encourage women to retain attachment to the workforce. Does the government really know better than parents what will be best for their family and children?” asks Greg Fleming.

“Acknowledging the limits of government should encourage a restrained approach to government spending, whereas ignoring them will always cause unnecessary waste. The public purse is not limitless, and the money given to government demands wise stewardship,” Fleming says.


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