Baseline Budgeting – Washington D.C.’s Dirty Little Secret

WHAT??! Congress wants to cut French Toast Assistance! But my friend will suffer severe syrup deprivation if you do that! How could you be so heartless?

Here’s the dirty secret “they” don’t want you to know. Pretend last year’s budget for French Toast Assistance was $20,000 (keeping the numbers low – comparatively – to ease comprehension). The projected baseline budget for this year’s French Toast Assistance is $22,000, the increase includes a 5% increase for inflation and a 5% increase for ‘urgent’ projected growth. The problem is that Congress doesn’t have an additional $2000 (or 10%) to add to the program, “they” tell you that there is only enough to add $1000 (or 5%) to the French Toast Assistance Fund. Immediately upon hearing this, there is a giant outcry, “My friend will die of hypoglycemia if she is cut out of the French Toast Assistance Program!” “My uncle will lose weight and he can’t afford to buy new clothes! He’ll go naked!”

Hold. On. Did you notice the same thing I did? The French Toast Assistance Fund will be increased by 5%, but it’s being called a cut? Pardon me, but in my opinion, a 5% increase over previous spending is not a cut. It’s not even as austere as a family has to be, “Sorry, Sweetie, we don’t have the money for your Hot-Pockets Jeans this year, I guess you’ll have to stick with Aberzombie and Stitch brand instead. Maybe next year we’ll have the upgrades on the Bat-Camper paid off and you can have your Hot-Pockets Jeans.”

No, it’s not a real cut. The French Toast Assistance Fund will continue on expanding the waistline of citizens who depend on it to keep their pants up. Hopefully, this year life will improve for at least a few of those and they will find a way to either pay for their own French toast or they will be able to afford a smaller pair of jeans from the thrift store down the street when their waistline shrinks due to living a French-toast-deprived life.

Still don’t understand how a “cut” in the baseline budget isn’t really a cut at all? Go to this website here. “The Congressional Budget Office defines the baseline as a benchmark for measuring the budgetary effects of proposed changes in federal revenue or spending, with the assumption that current budgetary policies or current services are continued without change. The baseline includes automatic adjustments for inflation and anticipated increases in program participation. Baseline, or current services, budgeting, therefore builds automatic, future spending increases into Congress’s budgetary forecasts….” – Citizens Against Government Waste

I’d like to know why “they” never tell you this stuff?

winner-winner, chicken dinner 🙂

Note: I used a facetious example and pretend numbers here to illustrate my point. I am not intending to dismiss the real-life-difficulty of anyone who suffers from uncontrollable waistline expansion due to increased budgetary spending. I understand. It’s not your fault.

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