When I was in high school, my dad was Post Chaplain at Fort Meade. I remember sitting with him at our dining room table one night as he worked over his budget. It was the end of the fiscal year and he hadn't spent all the money in the budget. Under the use it or lose it budget rules, if he didn't use all of the money allocated for an item in the budget this year, he would lose that amount when the budget for the next year was drawn up. So there he sat, budget in one hand and supply catalogs in the other. As I recall, one of the things he bought was 1,000,000 communion wafers, which was about a 7 year supply.
I was reminded of that silliness by Marc Hodak's post on President Obama's new savings initiative:
... In my brief stint in government, I’ve experienced the last quarter rush to “use it or lose it.” It is an ugly, cynical process.
Now, the White House is asking for an incentive to not spend it all:
The proposed change would let agencies that save money redirect half the savings to other initiatives, with the rest going toward deficit reduction, an administration official said on Sunday…
“The president’s goal has been to change Washington’s focus from figuring out how to spend money to how to save money, and we are going to incentivize savings instead of spending,” Mr. Emanuel said Sunday.
At least the administration understands economics and incentives as it applies to the decision-making right before their eyes.
Alas, the article suggests the source of opposition to this measure:Credit where credit is due.
It is likely to be welcomed by deficit hawks but could attract opposition from members of Congress who appropriate money, as it would take away some of their control of the federal purse…
Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for Rep. Eric Cantor (R., Va.), said the latest plan sounded “too complex” and “constitutionally questionable.”
“If this administration and Congress is serious about lowering the debt, they should start cutting spending immediately,” he said.
Which proves that economic ignorance/political cynicism is not monopolized by Democrats.