On Govenrment’s Budget and Joko Widodo’s 366 Days in Office

It is one day after the first anniversary of Joko Widodo’s presidency in Indonesia, and as expected, we can still see some political oblivion amongst Indonesian social media that will hurt your soul into the deepest part of it.

As we can expect, people still blatantly support him no matter what, because you know, they choose him. On the other hand, people also still blatantly opposed him no matter what because, you guessed it, they didn’t choose him.

Today, I woke up to a notion that Jokowi has done a great job, and that how much money the government has spent from their budget is irrelevant. Well first of all, I will never oppose the notion of patting somebody in the back for the work they’ve done. But on the other hand, I do oppose incorrect statement.

Thing is, the amount of money that the government body has spent from their budget (penyerapan aggaran) is critically important. It demonstrates how much of our tax money is being spent, how is it distributed, and whether it is distributed well.


The thing about government budget is that, the more money they have in their pocket, the less good it is. Because first, as I said, it means that they are not distributing the tax money well, which can ultimately mean that parts of governments bodies in rural areas are not spending enough money to get their local economies growing (which of course will affect the nation’s economy).

And second, and this is the most important thing we need to understand, is that if they do not use all of their budget, the next budgetary meeting with the parliament early next year might come up with less money allocated for the government’s operational cost, which means less money to spent on developing the society. But that’s going too much into the politics.

Point is, it is important for the government to use the budget they’ve allocated with, because it is one of the ways government can actually mobilise the economy (aside from fiscal and monetary decisions) and providing us with the facility that we need. And if we don’t demand them to spend the budget on anything important, we would end up with a government with an overpriced UPS. The government need to spend money, and they need to spend it wisely. How will they know whether they’ve spent it wisely or not? Well they could (and should able to) count on us to remind them.

But, I do not have strong background in economy, so you might want to check that out with your smartest economy student friends.

Anyway all I want to ultimately say is this. DUDE STOP WITH THE IDOLISATION ALREADY! I get it! He is an awesome dude and all. He got the swag, he represents the majority of our people, he is (to some extent) an iron fist, He can repair the system and so on and so forth. But let’s face it, his first year has not been good. It’s not bad either, it’s just okay.

Thing is, the last thing we want to do when somebody is doing an okay job for us is to pat them in the back and say good job. That will only loosen their sense of wanting to impress us. We already made the same mistake on SBY, when we elected him for being likeable and (seemingly) able to get the job done and kept on supporting him like crazy till we elected him again and he loose the sense of “discovery” of some sort and started pissing us off. At the end, he left us with more than $150 billion more of government debt, putting in total of more than $290 billion government debt for Jokowi to deal with in total.

All that I’m saying is that it is okay to support him. But, and it is a big but (pun-intended), we should not loose our sense of criticality. We should understand more that once that guy is in office, he is no longer the guy that we choose; he has become the guy who works for us, who we pay to take care of our home. And hell we have a huge home with a lot of problems.

So the last thing we want to do is to overplease him with something that is his job at the first place. Instead, we should pinpoint to him which area he should concentrate more and make sure that he is doing the job properly. Criticising isn’t always bad when it is constructive. And when Jokowi said that he needed our support, I think it is not a literal support. The kind of support he would have appreciated is the kind of support that helps him knowing which part of the country he should prioritise on.

Because five years are not enough. And it is never going to be enough. Even if he gets re elected, to repair the entire problem in Indonesia is still impossible, because it involves a lot of aspects that takes a lot of times.

Running a country is complicated, and nobody quite actually understands it.

And the last thing that we want to do is to act like a goldfish and be amazed by anything shiny that he shone to our eyes.

If human beings are fundamentally good, no government is necessary; if they are fundamentally bad, any government, being composed of human beings, would be bad also. – Fred Woodworth


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