Don't think for a minute that anything is going to change.

The waste and squandering of public money continues, year after year, despite warnings, exposes and auditor's reports.

Last week's Budget demonstrated clearly that it cannot be sustained without big borrowing and substantial tax increases for ordinary working people - which itself, of course cannot be sustained.

Yet even now, we get not a word of remorse, not a promise of correction, not a whisper of reform. Instead, we get self-justifying blather that simply cannot be supported by facts.

After the latest round of Auditor General's revelation about government waste and mismanagement, the Premier turned up on TV claiming yet again that the Auditor General had "politicized" his job, without being able to challenge his findings.

The Finance Minister, for her part, implied that she is taking things seriously without actually agreeing to anything the auditor said or committing herself or the Government to doing anything.

She also suggested that auditor's reports are negative because his job is to look for negative things and leave out the good.

"The Audit Act," she declares, "requires his reports to focus mainly on observed problems and deficiencies. Accordingly, his reports identified deficiencies in accounting and accountability systems."

No! The Audit Act requires the auditor to audit. The "deficiencies" are only reported because, year after year, Government has allowed them to continue.

The Finance Minister hides the truth in sterile, technical gobbledygook - with maternalistic lecturing on the role of government, auditor, finance minister, the nature of recessions and the techniques for dealing with them.

Bring us back to real life.

We are not talking about "deficiencies in accounting and accountability." We are talking about real failures in Government - real money that real workers earned and paid over to the government, and that was meant to do real good for real problems.

When a National Drug Commission employee uses a government credit card to shop at Victoria's Secret for lingerie, that's real money being stolen from a very important task of fighting drug addiction.

So the Finance Minister's excuses and explanation add to the cover up.

So too do her claims that accountability "in many areas of Government" are "much better" than they were a decade ago.

The Auditor General is very specific: The amount of money that is unaccounted for has increased, dramatically, from $485 million in March 2007 to almost $890 million at the end of March 2008.

What's more, many of the problems the auditor "reveals" are things the Government actually DID know about all along and didn't fix.

Drifting downhill

So why does it take the Auditor General to "reveal" the problems and call for police investigations?

Isn't anybody in Government taking responsibility, or do we drift downhill forever?

We expect politicians to make excuses but not to this extent - not this un-ending annual crock that repeats itself because nothing is ever changed.

Isn't anybody in Government - the Finance Minister, the Premier, or any other Cabinet Minster at all - ever going to stand up and say: "This is wrong. We will fix it. It must not happen again."

This refusal to take responsibility was exemplified by the Finance Minister's inane claim that she is but a "cog in the wheel" and can't control what other ministers spend.

Our cabinet system is supposed to be based on the principle of collective responsibility - where Cabinet decisions are made as a group, and supported by the group.

What it has evolved into here is a system of collective irresponsibility - where nobody is willing to object to wrongdoing, nobody is willing to take the blame, and nothing gets fixed.

The gap between official words and the deeds has become alarming.

The Finance Minster says cost overruns are "vexatious", and that systems to deal with them are "in the pipeline." Similar words were said last year, and the year before, but nothing changes.

Besides, the system that needs to be changed most of all is Cabinet's oversight.

The budget speech declares that Government is "providing economic stimulus by creating more jobs by investing in infrastructure," but there's no evidence in the budget that anything is happening now.

The budget's most striking feature, of course, is a classic anti-stimulus measure of increasing the taxes all workers pay on their wages, and increasing the taxes all employers pay on the people they hire.

It is curious that so much attention has been paid to the struggles of the Opposition UBP, and its need to change.

A lot more attention should be on the Government, and its refusal to change, to learn from mistakes or adapt to changing circumstances.

It is slowly destroying itself from the inside, and risks destroying Bermuda along with it.