IT is quite shocking to learn that despite a troubled economy and the state's limited financial resources, the presidency is maintaining a lavish bureaucratic presence. It reflects poorly on the commitment of the PPP-led set up expressed by Prime Minister Gilani that the leadership would launch an austerity drive. The government that castigated Musharraf for his lavish ways has been invariably found wanting in its obligation to avoid wasteful expenditure. There should be little doubt that this large number of presidential aides would be a huge burden on the national exchequer. The number of luxury vehicles, given the tendency of the civil servants to move about heavily guarded in large motorcades, the layers of auxiliary paraphernalia each one of them would have and various other perks and privileges, does not in the least amount to doing justice to the taxpayers' money. Add to it the jumbo-sized cabinet that continues to exact a heavy toll on national economy, lending credibility to the perception that the government has not learnt to cut its coat according to its cloth. What on the face of it appears to be a group of advisors, civil servants, retired bureaucrats, secretaries attending to day-to-day affairs of the presidency as busy as a bee, may in reality be nothing more than a bunch of cronies. The catch however is pretty obvious. Since decision-making gets seriously bogged down in so many layers of bureaucracy, good sense demands that the size of the presidency should be cut to the proper size.