Government Waste In A Pandemic
Yesterday, we found out that only 158 people have used the provincial government's ABTraceTogether app to upload a positive test result and to notify contacts.
Given how few people are actively using the app, that means it's highly likely that the ABTraceTogether app hasn't helped avoid even one single COVID infection, at a cost of more than $4 million of taxpayer money.
Who could have predicted this?
Well, actually, we did!
Way back in May 2020, we assessed the app, analyzed how it worked, and determined that the app would be incredibly expensive, and very impractical.
But even we couldn’t have imagined just how expensive and how useless it would turn out to be.
Life lesson — never underestimate the incompetence of a government program!
This massive waste of taxpayer money proves that governments of all political stripes can be wasteful, even in an emergency.
In this case, the facts just did not justify the creation of ABTraceTogether.
But politicians in Edmonton panicked and started throwing taxpayer cash around at anything anyone claimed would work.
We took a lot of flack for "complaining about waste during an emergency" last year, but - just as we were confident it would - time has proven us correct.
I'd like to think that this also shows why it’s important to have a principled group like the Alberta Institute, that can take a step back and examine policies carefully and deliberately, especially in an emergency!
Thank you all for your ongoing support, and for understanding the importance of the kind of calm, rational, policy analysis we do.
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It’s time to take the power of spending away from politicians. There should be a law – which can’t be changed on a whim – which forces government to run balanced budgets and any deficit spending would require 66% up vote in the legislature to pass.
Furthermore, all borrowing must come from Albertan residents in the form of Savings Bonds. Government cannot under any circumstance borrow on money markets. This way, Albertans vote with their purchase of savings bonds and the government can only deficit spend to the degree that Albertan’s will lend them the money.
If not enough lend, the government will be forced to raise the interest rate and this also puts the power of setting interest rates in the hands of voters.
The same law would be applied to municipalities.
Taxes should also be simplified and any tax increases must be voted on by voters.