Budget 2009 - Part 3: Invest to Grow
New Labour has brought us the historically brief age of consumer debt. If you borrow money so that you can be more productive then that is fair reason to be in debt provided the increased productivity more than services the debt. Eventually you get to the point where the surplus replaces the debt for future investment.
You don't get much of that with government spending. Their job is mostly to deal with things that are necessary but not profitable enough for the private to have a go at. The Post Office/Royal Mail and Network Rail are such money sinks.
Investing to grow is fine provided that the money goes into projects or systems that increase productivity. When it comes to governments think transport, communications and such like that encourage employment or make doing business easier.
Poor IT projects doomed to failure, ID cards and 10 year old car trade-in schemes to name a few are places where our money is being flung at where they aren't necessary and offer no return on investment.
The government have now 'discovered' areas for efficiency savings. Isn't it amazing how such things don't exist when an opposition party suggests them? By saying that they didn't exist is exactly the same thing as the government saying they are spending our money perfectly with no waste. Don't believe any government that ever says that. When the pressure is on, somehow, they will always show up and prove them wrong.