Thursday, 30 August 2012

of $20K Hammers and State Funerals

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons
I have mixed feelings about this story. $368K for a funeral?

Please don't get me wrong; he was one of the better political leaders that our country has seen in a very long time, and I admired him greatly. Truly, we need more leaders like Jack.

But $368K?

Certainly the man deserved  a send-off of state funeral proportions. I, for one, would never argue to the contrary. Nor am I suggesting that public money was wasted; in this case, it was not. It was very important for the public to have an opportunity to say goodbye, just as it would be for friends and loved ones to say goodbye at any funeral, regardless how well known the deceased was or wasn't. Perhaps the greater and more well-known the person, the greater the memorial. And if that is true, then it logically stands to reason, the greater the cost.

However, my real pet peeve here actually has nothing to do with this state funeral, but rather by reading this article, I was reminded of how governments seem to just sign off on expenses as if they were nothing. Everything governments touch seems to cost significantly more than they would if it were only the private sector involved. One need not look very hard before finding one story after another of incredible, and perhaps blatant, disregard and concern for the taxpayer's dollars.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons
By way of example, I can go to Canadian Tire store and buy a hammer for less than $20. Why is it that when we involve governments, the same hammer suddenly seems to cost $20K? OK, I may have exaggerated a little, but you get the point.

There's a classic line in the movie Independence Day in which Judd Hirsch answers the president's funding question by saying, "You don't actually think they spend $20K on a hammer, $30K on a toilet seat, do you?"

If governments don't really spend money like that, then why does it always seem to look on paper like they do? As the article says, "Until now, the cost of Layton's state funeral has been kept under wraps." I wonder what else they are keeping under wraps. Are they hiding other expenditures in the books that we, the public, have to fight to find out the truth about?  At the very least, one has to wonder.

Perhaps the greatest irony in this for me was that Jack stood for the welfare of the average working guy, yet when he passed, the government of the land stuck their hands into the collective pockets of the average working guy to the tune of $368K. Am I missing something here?

Anyway, that's the way I see it.

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