The Presidenta, Laura Chinchilla, three years after she went into office has finally told the autonomous and semi-autonomous institutions—“Ya basta.” (Enough!).
Costa Rica, has if not the highest then certainly one of the highest utility rates in the entire hemisphere. We have a fiscal (Money) deficit approaching the upper end of the globe, a system of tax collection that resembles something out of the Dark Ages where 15% actually pay and then there is the rampant, unabated corruption which keeps adding on to the deficit.
Last week Chinchilla, after returning from Haiti and prior to flying off to Peru, ordered, with a smile I hope, that our fixed price system really is not working very well and that she personally has ordered the responsible organization, ARESEP, to make sure water, electricity telecom, fuel, are kept under control and be sensitive to excessive abuses.
Now that is like stopping a train from that left the station headed directly towards the mountain of more costs, inflation and deficit spending.
The argument against and a correct argument at that is all, and I mean all, bureaucracies have a one world mission and that is to grow bigger in size and money.
A fine example is the new ICE building and its furnishings.
Nothing but 1st. class as if the customer service, which is questionable unto itself, needs rosewood. The answer to why?
“Because unless we spend all of the money of the approved budget, we will be reduced in funds next year,” said an employee who asked his name be withheld.
There in is the anthem of the bureaucrat and answers why such dinosaurs as RACSA are not left to die because if it does, as a subsidiary of ICE, a massive annual expenditure will cost a massive government budget to vanish.
It has nothing to do with you or me.
Therefore, an executive order for all public offices providing public services to reduce spending sounds good and ordering detailed budgets within the next 30 days also reads well. However, as has been the case for the past three years of this administration, reality is quite different.
This will either be totally forgotten or, handed off to the next administration. The safe bet is the costs of government will increase by at least 9% this year as “budgeted” and tax collection will continue to suffer which has been a national tradition while consumer prices keep on rising.
Provided we can keep on borrowing, the bills will be paid.