Politicians generally spend most of their time, using empty rhetoric and making promises, they either know they won’t fulfill, or simply not caring about fulfilling them! Unfortunately, the best of intentions, and/ or ideas, unless accompanied with relevant solutions, and enough attention to details, rarely achieves, very much, which makes any changes needed! The issue/ reason is generally, a lack of discipline, thinking outside – the – box, or principled, focused budgeting, etc. Whenever you hear any politician propose something, ask how it will be paid for! In the vast majority of cases, unfortunately, you will be given more double – talk, than responsible answers/ solutions! Let’s review, briefly, 5 areas, where there is significant, governmental, budgetary excess.
1. Padded areas and/ or spending bills: We often witness irresponsible representatives, include unrelated (or barely related) items, within another spending bill. For example, the recently passed legislation (by the House of Representatives), which included added defense spending, also included $1.6 billion, for the first, small segment, of President Trump’s often – trumpeted, much – discussed wall (on the Mexican border). However, why should this be included, when necessary elements, such as environment, ownership issues, legalities, and the true needs, have not been fully determined. Beware, when you’re told this type of spending is only a minor percentage of the overall budget, because, the only way to balance any budget, is one – step (bite) – at – a – time! We often witness totally unrelated, pet projects, included, solely because it might help someone politically, as a sort of payoff, for a positive vote! Wouldn’t you say, that’s padding?
2. Laziness: We nearly always, hear, or witness, budgets prepared, simply, by modifying previous budgets, and then bragging about maintaining a relatively, small budget increase! It should not be about that percentage, but, rather, how the funds are being expended. This is not merely a national issue, because it exists, on the local level, such as school budgets, etc. I have come to believe it’s a combination of laziness, and lack of understanding, because budgets should be prepared, at least on a periodic basis, using zero – based budgeting principles.
3. Pet projects: When representatives permit their votes to be bought, by approving/ including their pet projects, the overall process, is weakened, and there is far more excess and waste, than there should be!
4. How amounts are determined: Examine how these budget figures are determined, and whether, the process is conducted with an open – minded, alternative – oriented, best – methods, approach!
5. It’s only a drop in the bucket!: When we permit representatives to proceed, thinking it’s only a drop in the bucket, minimizing the overall impact, they fail to recognize, those qualified to prepare budgets, realize and understand, budgets are only balanced, when every expenditure is justified!
In my four decades of preparing budgets for organizations and businesses, I have developed the ability, to effectively consider budgetary possibilities, considerations, needs, priorities and considerations. Tell your representatives, you won’t accept, anything less than responsible budgetary programing!