"An election," HL Mencken used to say, "is an advance auction of stolen goods." As the Herald's front page points out this morning, the bidding is starting earlier this year.
Only five months into election year and National have already promised to spend $1.6 billion more of your money (and counting), while Labour have already promised to spend $4 billion -- with more to come this week with the reading of Cullen's election-year budget, and later in the year as Labour gets desperate enough to do anything to get itself a fourth term.
At the same time as announcing new bribes paid for with more of your money, both parties have started another bidding war: this time it's to give some of the stolen goods back in the form of tax cuts -- a non-virtuous circle only a politician is able to square.
Good on the Herald for pointing out this is 'good' old traditional pork-barrel politics, and for their plan to keep a 'Porkometer' to measure the extent of the swindle.
UPDATE: According to Russell Brown's information, the Porkometer is already between $1.5 and $4.5 billion light [see his post 'Shooting for the Moon' to see some pretty hairy numbers around what John Key's fibre promise is likely to cost us].
And David Slack points out that "the story doesn't ask which, if any, of the items proposed by Labour have been expressly ruled out by National." I think we all know the answer to that one, don't we, so for an accurate figure maybe just take Labour's number and double it.
PS: A point to everyone who spots the provenance of the punchline in the title of David's post.