Suggestions for how our political leaders could start saving money.

@thea09 (18314)
Greece
December 2, 2009 10:05am CST
It's no wonder the world economy is in such a mess when our leaders who roam the political stages haven't got the slightest clue about the first rules of budget management. Just look how they chuck tax payers money around without a second thought, not exactly leading by example. It might not seem much to them but economising begins at home so let's come up with a few sensible ideas for those usless spendthrifts out there to start leading by example. Here's a couple of my ideas - please add some of your own. All state dinners by any nation to be be replaced with home made sandwiches. All christmas trees and other religious icons which should be separated from politics to be banned in presidential and prime minister and cabinet and senate quarters. It will cut down on all the arguments, reduce the electric bill on all those lights and be good for the enviroment by not chopping trees down.
5 people like this
16 responses
@Hatley (164169)
• Garden Grove, California
2 Dec 09
hi thea here in the US our government spends a lot on things that us ordinary people would think twice or a dozen times before spending say one hundred dollars on a toilet lid, or on items that we would pay say fifteen' dollars for they charge ten times that much to replace 'stuff and don't seem to think they are wasting our money. I was nonplussed to see what the government spent on items like toilets and wash basins and such ordinary things. I thought to myself these things must be gold plated to be worth that kind of money. and to think the tax payers of our country ultimately foot the bills for such foolishness. I think that the leaders of our country should' have to count their dollars and keep their eating out expenses down to maybe six or seven dollars apiece instead of probably more like forty dollars per person.also maybe reuse things that they ordinarly replace every little while. my parents raised me on an old adage use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. I was raised during our first depression so money was very tight and people learned to conserve and to preserve so to speak.now days we are all pretty spoiled so this new depression has hit us much harder i think.
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
2 Dec 09
Hatley you let your presidents have gold toilets, that's just laughing in the faces of all those with old out houses. I think you're way too generous letting them have an eating out allowance of six or seven dollars. Why should they eat out at all, there's countries to be run into the ground and a home made sandwich with some tap water shouldn't run to anywhere near that, in fact they could manage quite well with bread and water. After all they're going to screw us all anyway with the large pensions they claim so they can save their fancy eating until then.
@shamsta19 (3224)
• United States
3 Dec 09
I am reading some of these other posts I am impressed by the thought process on this one. I think all government officials including the President should be paid an AVERAGE WAGE. Maybe when these bloodsuckers learn to live on a regular persons salary they'd have some concept of balancing a budget and in turn managing our economy. We are dealing with elitist and rich politicians, some who never had to work a hard day in their lives or have forgotten what it was like. Though if politicians were paid less they'd just find ways to steal more I am sure..
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Hi shamsta, they've got an excellent chance to lead by example if they chose to do so instead of living off the fat of the land on over inflated salaries. All those hanger on staff could be cut down for starters and they could make their own sandwiches once the chefs had been sacked (that won't hurt the chefs as they can make a fortune by selling the stories of their sackings plus personal eating habits of the politicians to some tabloid paper). And the fancy gardeners could be replaced by goats grazing on the lawn (under the washing idea I suggested to the poster above you).
1 person likes this
@shamsta19 (3224)
• United States
4 Dec 09
Amen. I am not mad at any of these suggestions. My thing has always been now that the question has been posed, what are we gonna do about it? We can make all the verbal complaints, but when are we going to go after these bloodsucking vampires and burn em at the stake? I love this post though and kudos to you for posting this topic.
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
4 Dec 09
Sorry - my finger hit enter too soon. I was saying I'm not sure which poster came up with the idea about banning all political campaigning where millions are wasted but that would be my start for them. A couple of televised debates only with the candidates explaining this is the start of saving by example they wish to set.
1 person likes this
@wlee9696 (595)
• United States
2 Dec 09
I think fewer state dinners is appropriate. We could use videophone and get a lot more done and save all the travel, lodging and other expenses associated with such an affair. Not to mention the costs of catering, security, decorations, etc..... I think decorations for various holidays are fine. They are usually all donated. So let each religion donate the decorations associated with their specific holiday and be responsible for getting them put up and down. This would decrease the overall decorating budget and keep the Capital and White House fresh and updated. All members of congress should pay for their personal transportation. You wanted to serve, you knew you had to travel back and forth between the capital and your home states so deal with it. If our economy was great and we could afford it we would but we can't so we shouldn't. Get rid of the doctor's office at the Capital. You have health insurance so go to the doctor like the rest of us do. There is no viable reason to have a physician office and staff at the capital building. I could come up with more but I want to let others have a go at it.
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
2 Dec 09
Hi wlee, glad to see you here and that you took it in the right pe spirit. I think if they want to accept donated decorations then that is wrong as there's no such thing as a free lunch and obviously there will be some kind of payback, so they should openly donate their free donations to a needy childrens hospital and set an example by not using electric to power unnecessary lights. Now you caught me out with the doctors office and I've no idea if this is a world wide thing but why can't they just queue up like the rest of us. If they are so unhealthy that they need a personal doctor on hand they should be health checked first to make sure they are up to the job.
@wlee9696 (595)
• United States
2 Dec 09
thea why would you think I would not take it in the right spirit? I was unaware you didn't wish response to your post. My apologies.
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Wlee my dear, I said I was glad to see you here and I meant it - I just thought when I saw your response that we might start arguing about 'the tree' again but of course you took the pe rather than political approach even though I put this loosely political one in pe. I don't know why you would think you were anything but welcome.
@cynthiann (18613)
• Jamaica
2 Dec 09
Hmmm. Now let me think. *thinks* 1. All political leaders to have their entertainment allowance stopped immediately. 2. Cut down on motorcades and bodyguards - especially if they rule a country that is only 120 miles long and 44 miles wide 3. Lights to go automatically if a meeting lasts more than 2 hours - and a/c too.Plus no food to be served at thse meetings - that should speed things up a bit. 4. Stop employing party supporters to jobs such as - printing emails and taking them to the government leader's residence in the evening. Yes, this is done. Cheaper to pay for him to become computer literate. 5. Stop taking pay offs from foreign contractors 6. Ensure that they can only stay in power for 2 terms only Am rushing but this is what comes to mind immediately. Lots more though! Excellent post!
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
2 Dec 09
Hi cynthiann, I see you also have their entertainment down as too extravagant. I think that as Americans like to gloabalise the world with their fast food culture that the most they should be allowed to buy in foodwise for their guests is some manky old McDonald chips. Then no one would bother coming back for a knees up in the future anyway. I take it the rest of your list is geered towards Jamaican politicians, what on earth are they doing having air con in the first place, polluting the environment like that when they could use a home made fan instead. I didn't know your system operated on bribes too. I did a discussion a few months back about doctors in Greece expecting bribes and the only responders who were not shocked by that were the Indian ones who are also expected to give bribes. The rest of the world seemed blissfully innocent that most governments work on bribes.
@cynthiann (18613)
• Jamaica
2 Dec 09
We have one known Island wide who is known as Mr. Ten percent!
@sunny68 (1327)
• India
3 Dec 09
......i smell bribe here......btw thea - did you get your prescription from that doctor ?...
@sunny68 (1327)
• India
3 Dec 09
this certainly is an interesting discussion. and the list can be endless...only i wish someone could put them in to action. i hope i am able to justify my thoughts in words...so here i go... 1. number of politicians reduced by 70%. that will increase efficiency. 2. complete ban on travel. can be replaced by video conferencing, telephone. email.. 3. foreign visits can be replaced by putting up embassy staff to serve the purpose. 4. complete ban on national parades. why display arms and equipments once a year?? 5. palatial accommodation to be replaced by flats. they are easier to maintain, many politicians can live in same area - would mean better security. 6. travel by bus. most politicians live in same areas and all have same area of work. their private caravans should be replaced by a few buses that can carry them all. 7. all allowances to be cancelled. they should be made to present bills and paid only if the expenditure is justified. 8. election campaign expenses to be banned. they can campaign on state television and nothing more than that. 9. ban on traditional pomp and show. like guard of honor, music bands, horses, camels, elephants...etc... .......the list can go on with specifics but i guess you got the general idea...
@shamsta19 (3224)
• United States
3 Dec 09
kudos on number one!!!
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Well I'll give the thumbs up to all of the above Sunny. Now your suggestion at number 8 is way overdue. Firstly it actually puts any quality people off as who wants to get embroiled in sucking up enough to get the millions necessary for wasting on balloons and things. I don't know how much fuss that countries in general make for this but obviously in the US it is out of control, and basically limits it to the political families now or the biggest suck ups. It should be limited completely to a couple of TV broadcasts where one side is pitted against the other and none of this will they won't they face each other on TV. I'm also impressed by the ferry them all around on buses together.
@sunny68 (1327)
• India
10 Dec 09
election expenses have certainly spiraled in recent times. in fact it has become a huge business in itself. here the election commission is trying to put a cap on it but with little success. however they do seem determined and also people are getting wary of all such expenses...so the better days might not be far away....
@stvasile (7314)
• Romania
3 Dec 09
The latest genius idea issued by the bright heads of our political leaders is to send all the employees paid from the budget (teachers, policemen, clerks, etc.) in forced unpaid holiday for 3 days this month and the next (maybe they will make this a monthly habit). I think the best way to save budget money is for the political leaders to stop stealing from the budget. At least for a few months. It's so simple, and it would save millions of Euro... Another beautiful deed of our leaders was this autumn, when the Parliament VOTED a la saying that the teachers' wages will be increased by 50 %. Although the law was voted and approved, the Government refused to apply the law... Nice, isn't it?
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
4 Dec 09
Hi stvasile, there's always plenty to rail against with the way they mismanage public funds with their stupid policies but in this instance I'm trying to get ideas of how the actual leaders should be setting an example in frugality. Romainia is on a time warp with this one and it isn't going to happen as politics there is a way for the ones on top to steal and make money, the example has been there too long to change overnight. That's a hangover from communism where the ones who state all should be equally poor are living the champagne lifestyle themselves. A strong parrallel there in fact with the mullahs of Iran. Another case of do as we say but we'd never dream of doing it ourselves. Tell me though, are the bright sparks who came up with the 3 day forced unpaid holiday also applying it to themselves? I think I can pretty much guess your answer there.
1 person likes this
@stvasile (7314)
• Romania
10 Dec 09
Amazingly, the employees of the government and Parliament were also forced to take 3 days off, but that's no problem for them, as they are not living from those wages. The position they are in allow them to auction their own companies business that earn them much more than the wage of a senator.
@PeacefulWmn9 (10422)
• United States
3 Dec 09
Yes, why should they not "tighten their belts" the way most of the rest of the world's people have? Take a pay cut. Use public airlines and save the private jets when safety is the only real issue, as for presidents or other heads. Pay for part of their own health insurance. (I have none any more.) Buy generic foods, paper products, etc. And that is just a small beginning. Karen
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
4 Dec 09
Hi Karen, not only tighten their belts but set an example of doing so. Do you mean your lot get free private health insurance but still queue jump? All eating out is banned as they'll get far more work done over their sandwiches or brand name tins. They should sell off the private jets and take air flop.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Dec 09
Yes, yes, and yes...those are all great ideas! Our country desperately needs affordable health care. So many are without now, including me.
• United States
3 Dec 09
pft..my country's hemorraging money right now. i'm not sure how to get them to cut down. cutting down on state dinners and useless trips at taxpayer's expense is a good start. i think if we truly knew the true amount of their wastefulness we'd probably have a heart attack collectively.
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Hi Scarlet, well they really all should be leading by example and not squandering money as though its going out of fashion, and what better place to start is by an example from the top. Your president could have a 5 minute non political spot each day demonstrating how the White house has started to save money, such as using the back of the old paper and bulk buying cheap loo rolls. I'm sure they waste far too much electricity there as well so he could go on about how much they are saving by turning lights off, and other envionmentally tips such as re using the bath water.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Dec 09
yup.i bet they could use grey water for that lawn after it's been purified a bit. or even solar for non important lighting would save..
@Louc74 (620)
3 Dec 09
Excellent, Thea! I've got one. Getting to and from their place of work is the responsibility of the government ministers (it is for all other employees). Where a minister must stay overnight for work reasons - and only for work reasons - they should stay in a purpose built hostel, with a basic bed and communal toilet/bathing facility. If they require evening meals, these should be paid for at their own expense, though a basic communal kitchen area will be provided. And they should be bl**dy well grateful that even this is provided!
@Louc74 (620)
3 Dec 09
Oh! Almost forgot. In each room of the Parliament buildings, whitehouse, or any government building in any country, there should be a huge poster on the wall, which reminds them in big bold letters: Your job exists to benefit the populace. The populace do not exist to benefit you. Or let's just shoot them all, clean up the mess, and start over again. Lol!
@bounce58 (17449)
• Canada
2 Dec 09
On the contrary, I think these political leaders are mis-leading by example. By showing the public their lavish lifestyles, more and more people are keen to join politics. Now for a saving tip: I like video tele-conferencing. If private companies, such as where I work, can use this advancement in technology to do meetings, and discuss issues, why can't politicians do it too? If there is value in face to face talk, and a handshake, then just send in the leaders. Hangers' on like senators and representatives, and other politicians that go with presidents and prime ministers to discuss their own issues can stay home and just tele-conference.
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Hi bounce, that would indeed be a saving but I don't for a moment think that when two leaders get together then any actual work gets done as they usually lack the essential brain power to do anything beyond their puppet duties so just let the minions sort out the details and scrap the leaders altogether, it's nothing but a photo op in most cases. So now we're down to the minions or behind the scene powers doing the video thing. That would indeed save a fortune and they could eat their home made sandwiches at the same time instead of wasting all those hours in state banqueting.
@bounce58 (17449)
• Canada
4 Dec 09
In this case, why don't we just hire actors to be the leaders. If photo-ops are the only thing that they are good at. This way, we even save the money we spend on elections. Yeah, I know. This is just wishful thinking, as I know that there is more than one bright eyed law graduate out there who is already thinking of ways on how he could get to the top of the political heap!
@laglen (19778)
• United States
3 Dec 09
How about state dinners are now pot luck? I have to do it...... Heres another idea, for 2 years all foreign aid cut off. The only tax payer money leaving the country would be toward out debt. How about Congress takes a two vacation - think of all of the paper we would save! How about no entitlement programs other than social security. These are some pretty big ticket items! How about the President gives all speeches from the White House, think of the fuel we would save.
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Hi laglen, I was actually after suggestions on how politicians should start cutting expenses in their life styles to set an example rather than government programmes, but the pop luck dinner is along the right lines most definitely. Now here's a good one I just thought of after the spate of discussions about illegal laundry hanging and over use of tumble driers and thus waste of fuel. Obama could start hanging his washing out on the White House lawn as an example to the nation which he could then promote - you've got states with an electric crisis with tumble driers working overtime.
• India
3 Dec 09
Well it seems that politicians and govt are the same everywhere and in a poor country like India, it becomes all the more glaring as to how they waste public money for their own whims and fancies and just to hold on to certain traditions! For one, my suggestion would be to cut down on air travel until and unless absolutely necessary (all of them are prone to seeing the world at our money in the name of work) and even where absolutely necessary, to travel cattle class rather than executive class (exec. Class should be for exec. who nevertheless have to do some work)… I don’t know about other countries but here in india the politicians are so unnecessarily pampered in every sphere…they get fat paychecks in the name of allowances, which goes to their savings as everthing else is ‘sponsored’ by the govt (read free)…accommodation, food, car, telephone, nets, laptops…it’s a complete package and no party wants to rock the boat by raising these issues. About some months back in the thick of the recession, our PM had very gallantly advised the top honchos of the industry to cut their gross intakes (the honchos earn in billions as you know) which created a furore in the industrial circles coz if nothing else, at least the honchos do some work to earn their pay while the fat geese in our parliament just get fatter sitting and travelling and having a good time shouting at each other for the public and then supping together in the dark!
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Hi sudiptacllingu, it seems that the Indian politicians are as bad as the rest these days but of course they take the bribes more openly. Cattle class, that's a good one. I can't really see why they need to do so much travelling if they have a mess at home to sort out. I like the way yours give advice on frugality to the other top chaps, that could backfire at election time as there could be less bribes for them. I must say though you've summed it up splendidly well in your last sentence.
@jellymonty (2354)
3 Dec 09
Personally I think politics should be wiped off the face of the planet. In the olden days there was no politics. Just laws that you either obey or you say good bye to your life. The SOB that invented politics should shot in my opinion as that is why the world is in beyond a mess
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Jelly my dear, the Greeks invented politics so I can't go along with you there, or shall I say they won't be going into room 101. Politicians are such an inept breed though, all we really need is a roomful of the best chaps to run a country properly with common sense. However the best ones wouldn't give it the time of day as are too busy exposing the idiots who prevail. For the UK I'd select a band of the best brains which would be Mandleson, Ian Hislop and Andrew Neil, they'd soon have the place running ship shape in no time. The USA could lend us Michael Moore as well.
@junmae (1591)
• Philippines
3 Dec 09
They are saving money for there own purposes and not for the people and for the country. They just seated in the position because it is the very best way to be wealthy.
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Hi junmae, perfectly right, there's so many extra perks in bribes and free travel, free meals out, huge pension rights, not to mention the book deals later when they document their lives. They use the taxpayers money when they are in office then usually cash in on their gullibilty later. The UK's Maggie Thatcher made a fortune out of speaking in America when she lost her power, and most of the ex US presidents do the conference trial for the cash.
@jennybianca (12912)
• Australia
3 Dec 09
1. All air travel to be by economy class. 2. Documentation of overseas trips must be made by any politician going overseas at tax payers expense and made available to the public. 3. Painting and furnishings in any government building should only be replaced when necessary and only at a budget level. 4. Paintings by local artists only. 5. When power cuts are necessary during a heat wave, this must be done in government buildings as well. 6. Politicians are to use public transport when practical.
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Hi Jenny, well in the UK they certainly bang on enough about the taxpayers using public transport so they should certainly try it themselves, instead of jaunting round in all those foreign cars with paid chauffeurs. And they use them for jaunting around out of office hours too. Overseas trips should be by vital necessity only and in times of recession they should be made to holiday in their own lands and spend their holiday spends to boost their own economies. Are you seriously saying that your Government buildings are exempt from powercuts, I must find out if the same happens here but I very much doubt they could manage to co ordinate that one.
@MJay101 (711)
2 Dec 09
I think the biggest waste of money in the UK (and particularly the US) is the military / defence budget. If elected (no chance!), I'd instantly slash it in half; probably reduce it by 70 - 80%. Another huge waste of funds: the salaries and benefits of elected officials. It's an absolute disgrace that whilst so many are struggling with debt, MPs are paid such vast salaries, with unrivalled pension benefits and an expenses system that borders on the absurd. Central government itself is generally a huge waste of money.
@thea09 (18314)
• Greece
2 Dec 09
Couldn't agree more about the outrageous pensions that they vote for themselves, I remember when the grey man was in doing such a dull job and his pension was going to be more than his P.Ms salary so there wasn't any real incentive there to do a decent job. Again all the MP's should take set an example and stick at home with beans on toast. The last time we were watching an English TV programme on YouTube John Prescott was out stuffing his face twice in the same week in some celebrity restaurant for a meal which probably cost more than most of his constituents weekly earnings.