Do Government Budgets Matter? They Print, Borrow, Waste

Government budgets are meaningless. Governments ignore them and do as they please. Governments do not account for budget over runs, like businesses.

Imagine a business operating without a strategy, annual budget, and long term plan. Yearly, it pulls together a list of its executives’ favorite spending ideas for its CEO’s approval. The CEO endorses the plan because she knows the business needs a funding rationale to continue borrowing.

How does this business plan to lower its debts? To become effective and competitive? How does it do projects needing two or more years planning? It does none of these; it merely limps along from one crisis to another, until it fails.


What about governments? They don’t collapse without potent strategies, plans and budgets; they have access to unlimited funds. The US Federal government thrives on so-called “continuing resolutions” that fund the government, program by program. It does not commit to an overall broad vision to implement needed changes to virulent programs; it hobbles along confident it can tax, borrow, and spend at will.

President Barack Obama on 26 March signed into law a bill to fund the US government to the end of the fiscal year, September 2013. This stopgap spending estimate is meant to leave in place $85 billion spending cuts. However, it merely creates the illusion of savings until the next ‘continuing resolution’; It does not deal with the real issues of effective management, optimal funding of government programs, and tackling government waste.

Identifying $100 billion and more of government waste is simple. Senator Tom Coburn’s investigative reports are a good place to start. We don’t need to be forensic accountants to see the waste and stupidity the senator unearthed. In page two of the Senator’s WASTEBOOK 2012 he writes:

Perhaps nothing demonstrates just how out of touch Washington is more than the $300,000 USDA is spending to tell Americans to eat caviar, one of the world’s most expensive delicacies, at a time when millions of Americans are struggling just to put the basics on the family dinner table.

How do governments get away with this? Two reasons; first, an ignorant electorate that’s usually moved by the latest charismatic speech promising them benefits. Second, governments have the power to tax, spend, print money, without accounting for their ineptitude.

The world was appalled at the Cyprus government’s plan to tap certain people’s savings to raise funds. This is a repugnant proposal; however, apart from the cosmetics, it is similar to governments’ imposing income and other taxes on its citizens. Think about it?

A budget is supposed to help a family, business, or government ration scarce resources to achieve specific goals. Programs and other activities funded in the budget need active management to realize their goals. Yet, the USA Federal government has been without a formal budget for years; it survives on emergency funding, so called ‘continuing resolutions,’ that feed partisan desires.

It is time the electorate realize we must demand an end to governments’ blatant wasteful spending, and insist governments start to apply proper budgeting and budgetary control practices. Perhaps the US and Canada need a Cyprus-type tax invasion to spur electorates to action!

Copyright (c) 2013, Michel A. Bell

Michel A. Bell is a Christian, an author, speaker, founder and president of, former senior business executive devoted to provide free Christian financial advice to help folks live debt free lifestyles. If you want to use an ultra simple, free interactive affordability pre-spending tool to help you get out of debt and live debt free, try this.



Michel A. Bell

Michel A. Bell is a former senior business executive, author of six books (including Business Simplified released in 2018), speaker, and adjunct professor of business administration at Briercrest College and Seminary. Michel is a Fellow of the Chartered Certified Accountants (UK), holds a Masters of Science in management degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Doctor of Business Administration honoris causa from Briercrest College and Seminary. He is founder and president of Managing God's Money.

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