How to fill an a-hole's budget hole

(Reuters)

(Reuters)

THE FIFTH COLUMN

The thing about budget holes is that they’re easy to spot.

It’s ironic that a budget hole will actually stand out on your Excel spreadsheet on account of its size. To get rid of the budget hole on your Excel spreadsheet, simply click on it twice and hit delete. This is known as “cancelling the debt” and you can do it in two seconds.

Two more great ways to fill your personal budget hole up are to up revenue or increase your ROI (return on investment), provided you have an “I” to start with. Failing that, you can up revenue by working yourself to the bone.

While you’re working yourself to the bone filling your personal budget hole, it’s important not to lose sight of the bigger picture that has a bigger budget hole — the mother of all budget holes, one might say — created by a rather big a-hole.

The mother of all budget holes, known as “public debt” (that’s us), currently stands at, or sinks to, R50.8-billion, an amount we must all work together to lower because we’re all in this thing together, whether we like it or not.

And, don’t worry, Malusi Gigaba, our finance minister, has a plan — or at least we hope he does.

In all likelihood, Gigaba will raise taxes to fill the budget hole — historically the best way to go about it. Taxes, for those still unclear, is how we all chip in to get ourselves out of the budget hole.

To aid the national effort, expect every imaginable tax to rise this year. And also those you didn’timagine would exist, like sugar tax. In fact, in future, in an ideal society, expect everything that appears to be good but is actually bad to be taxed, such as your favourite bingeworthy series and cut of red meat.

If you’re concerned about missing the opportunity to add your contribution to the effort to get us out of the budget hole, don’t worry, our tax revenue service will take out full-page ads in all major newspapers to remind you when tax season is open.

In these times, go down to your local tax branch and wait with others for hours to help to get us out of the budget hole because, remember, we’re all in this thing together.

So, what happens when the budget hole is all filled up? Do taxes fall away? That is unknown. No country has ever managed to fill their budget holes, which appear to have been there when the country was founded.

The United States has the world’s biggest budget hole — more than $20-trillion — with the world’s biggest budget hole clock proudly up on an electronic billboard that ticks over as the hole gets deeper.

It’s not clear whether Gigaba’s plans include a similar billboard but, if they do, he will be well advised to put it up where we can all congregate beneath it — on lunch breaks and on weekends — and gape at the budget hole in disbelief, wondering: “Where did it come from? Why is it rising (or sinking)? Will we ever get out of it?”

JS Smit

JS Smit

JS Smit is a Cape Town-based freelance writer. Formally trained as a copywriter, he took a break from ads in 2010 to write a blog for the Mail & Guardian's Thought Leader and since 2015 has written for the Mail & Guardian. Read more from JS Smit

    Client Media Releases

    Tender awarded for SA's longest cable-stayed bridge
    MTN backs SA's youth to 'think tech, do business'
    Being intelligent about business data
    PhD for 79-year-old theology graduate