Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Today a doctor with a flashlight shows us where budget projections come from.

Because of the recent budget problems in THE CITY, all the departments in THE BUREAUCRACY have begun to forecast a list of priority projects based on which projects have money committed to them, which have had some precommitments, and which are in "the pipeline". Now we can predict how much money we're going to need for the next eight years for all of these projects.

Next we're going to predict the weather in Central Park on October 15, 2011 at 2:34 PM [partly cloudy, 54 degrees, wind from the southwest], the winner of World Series in 2007 [Yankees], and the date the aliens will finally land [trick question: already here!]

According to chaos theory, no projection, however well reasoned, is any better than a shot in the dark. Minor fluctuations in tax rates, employment, national debt may cause vast differences in the amount of resources we will have and therefore number of projects we'll be able to do.

But I spent today doing this futile exercise anyway. Turns out that we have 80 priority projects costing $650,000,000... and about $13,000,000 to do it with. Of course, they're still working on the list of "must-do" projects.

I'm looking at this as an excuse, nay, an "opportunity" to cut out the crappy projects. ['Course, that would leave me with nothing to do.]

Update October 28, 2007: Boy was I ever wrong on the Yankees!

1 comment:

Sue London said...

I worked on the federal budget for three years, and now I do budget for the finance shop I work in (plus a bunch of other stuff - my real emphasis is in accounting and systems). I share a lot of my snark with the Cost Accounting group since we have similar POVs. Our current favorite cube sign is "WE DO PRECISION GUESS WORK!"

Honestly, though, something is better than nothing. And of course - document, document, document!!