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Thread: Maybe This is a Stupid Question, But, Who Audits the State Finances?

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    Default Maybe This is a Stupid Question, But, Who Audits the State Finances?

    Joan Burton was challenging FF during the week to allow the opposition access to State financial data if the government wished to seek an agreed 4-year budgetary strategy. She claimed this was normal practice in other countries.

    I also remember newly-elected governments in the past claiming that their pre-election promises and policies were rendered impossible because the State finances were far worse than their predecessors had claimed.

    This begs the question.

    Who, if anyone, audits and verifies the State finances? Does the IMF? The EU? KPMG (God forbid)?

    How do we know that the information we are given is correct? Or do we just have to take the word of any government currently in power?

    As I stated in the title, this may be a stupid question. Maybe there is a mechanism. I just don't know what it is if it does exist.

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    Good question. Here's some images to suggest answers



    “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” - Friedrich A. Hayek

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    I'll tell you who audits the state's finances. Fianna Fail. Thats who.

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    Just so you do get an answer to your question - the Comptroller and Auditor General has the role of auditing and reporting on the finances of Government bodies. However, most of the organs of the State are in some way legally constituted, eg as a state company. Most of those companies also produce audited accounts and are audited by different bodies.

    How effective the C&AG is, is an entirely different question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wishywashy View Post
    I'll tell you who audits the state's finances. Fianna Fail. Thats who.
    So, the likes of Haughey, Ahern, Cowen, Flynn, Burke, Lenihan are the people we trust to keep our finances under control? Is that what you are suggesting????

    Seriously, why do the government (any Irish government) not have to demonstrate that the finances are being correctly managed on a regular basis? That what they claim is correct?

    Why do they deny access to the opposition parties? What is the justification?

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    Quote Originally Posted by consultant View Post
    So, the likes of Haughey, Ahern, Cowen, Flynn, Burke, Lenihan are the people we trust to keep our finances under control? Is that what you are suggesting????

    Seriously, why do the government (any Irish government) not have to demonstrate that the finances are being correctly managed on a regular basis? That what they claim is correct?

    Why do they deny access to the opposition parties? What is the justification?
    The justification is simple. They won the election. The opposition lost it.
    That is the price of being of losing elections. You are out of power.

    You do not get to play at 'pretend being in government'.
    I am Kilrain of the 20th Maine and I damn all gentlemen
    Whose only worth is their father's name and the sweat of a workin' man

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnfás View Post
    Just so you do get an answer to your question - the Comptroller and Auditor General has the role of auditing and reporting on the finances of Government bodies. However, most of the organs of the State are in some way legally constituted, eg as a state company. Most of those companies also produce audited accounts and are audited by different bodies.

    How effective the C&AG is, is an entirely different question.
    Thank you - I had forgotten about the C&AG.

    Is that, I wonder, a reflection on me or the function?

    Both, perhaps?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pujols View Post
    The justification is simple. They won the election. The opposition lost it.
    That is the price of being of losing elections. You are out of power.

    You do not get to play at 'pretend being in government'.
    And who pays their wages? They are our employees. And they should be sacked for gross negligence.
    “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” - Friedrich A. Hayek

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cassandra Syndrome View Post
    And who pays their wages? They are our employees. And they should be sacked for gross negligence.
    You are missing my point.

    I was simply pointing out the political reality vis a vis government and opposition.

    If they opposition want access to the books, let them win an election.

    That is all.
    I am Kilrain of the 20th Maine and I damn all gentlemen
    Whose only worth is their father's name and the sweat of a workin' man

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    We've a feudal system based on Gatekeeper models of information, welath and power.

    In a modern system everything should be public. Open Source Government, if you like. Set the information free. After all, we pay for it all and we have a right to know where every last cent is going.

    It would be almost trivial to introduce a purchase control system where every bit of expenditure has to be requested, with alternative quotes, and approved by a chain of command. Let the managers of individual units within the PS have control over small purchases up to a certain cumulative budget, have larger expenditure having to be approved up the chain right up to the minister. I've built such systems for companies in the Private sector in Ireland before. It's amazing the waste that tumbles out of the woodwork when you do this.

    Zero-based budgeting is another method - go to each individual unit and find out exactly what they actually do (are are supposed to do) all year, the resources they need to do actually deliver the job, whether there are seasonal factors and spikes in activity, and set their budgets and manpower resources accordingly. But sure that would involve thinking things through, planning and accountability, and we don't do any of those things in Ireland.

    And all of this should be publicly available to the citizenry.

    Of course such systems of openness, accountability and oversight would immediately render useless all of FF's corruption networks and methods of siphoning huge volumes of pork to their supporters.

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