The cruelest concept in the world is the idea of budgeting. Osama Bin Laden recently suggested that in Islam there are no taxes, only a tithe of 2.5%. Like the Grey Panthers of the Proposition 2 1/2% movement, he sounds like a hollow politician promising a chicken in every pot if we would just give him more power. Yet, those who set the budget never deliver the pot nor the chicken. Where does the “savings” go?
A budget is the numerical expression of self-righteousness. It is because of a budget that people can step over a beggar on the street and say "I gave at the office." A budget is how we plan our compassion conservatively. A public budget is how activists measure "their fair share" when they lobby for the funds of their neighbor. The government leaders budget what they think is an appropriate amount of suffering by the citizens while still ensuring their personal comfort.
Employees are forever forced to meet their budget, and managers prove their worth by exceeding their budget. Slaves are still being bought and sold, but with greater efficiency, thanks to paper money and computers. Debts are stronger than chains, and more painful than whips.
When a business does not meet its budget the laborers are fired or punished to protect the owner's budget. Churches act in a similar vein, as Osama's offer demonstrates. The elders will build a castle for rituals while the flock shelters under a tree. Athletes and musicians get drunk on adulation, while others budget for a percentage of their fame.
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While we think of governments, businesses and non-profit organizations as different entities, in fact they are all exactly the same. They are all ruled by the love of budgeting money, and the corresponding myopia that follows with it. Individuals budget part of their earnings for investing, so they can use their surplus to prey on those who borrow. Budgeting makes it easy to be both prey and predator simultaneously. How did Orwell miss the obvious?
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