All the hoopla about government finances revolves around the budget. Few of us have the vaguest notion of the budget of any of our large corporations yet all of us are exposed on an almost daily basis to talk about “the” budget — and the budget deficit.
Most all of us who have an interest in corporate finance are well aware of how Apple, say, did last year. Few, if any of us, have a clue as to how our government did last year. With all the emphasis on the budget and none on the actual, we get a very warped idea of what is happening in Washington.Is there any one who has not at some time sat down and made a budget along with a New Year’s resolution perhaps. And then one has an emergency or one sees a dress at a discount and must have or there is that new electronic toy that one can’t live without. And so one overrules the budget.
At the government level, 9/11 was a major emrggency. The war in Iraq was deemed necessary. Money was raised to finance the war. But that money was never in the budget. The budget might have been balanced but the actual was not. And until we get serious about the actual and not just the budget, we shall make no headway in solving our problems.