By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… The process of money management is a mystery to me. I must admit that my money manager is my wife and she is very good at it.
Prior to my getting married, which was eons ago when people actually paid for things with money, instead of plastic cards, I never had much money. My money management plan was if I had money I spent it; if I didn’t have any money I didn’t buy anything.
Once I got married my money manager explained to me that the money I received each month needed to be spent over the entire month not just the first few days. I thought that was a rather unique concept and therefore let my money manager deal with that issue for the next 56 years and will continue to do so. It was quite unique to reach the end of the month and still have cash to pay for food and rent and actually put a bit aside for the future.
As a teacher, I never dealt with a budget. I merely turned in a request for what I needed to my administrator and the need was, more often than not, met. If my request was not granted I would either purchase the material needed with my own money or find some other means to supplement my classroom program. Sometimes that was by “creative borrowing” or plagiarizing materials. I always justified this action by stating “it was for the kids”.
As a school principal, I was gifted with a great office manager and banker who maintained the school budget with very little oversight from me. While I was aware that I had the final say and responsibility for the school budget, these two very capable women handled the day to day financial operation of the school. With consultation with faculty we would develop a budget and these ladies would make sure we stuck to it.
Over the last three years I have been forced to look at budget issues within the Clark County School District. I have had the “pleasure” of reading both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 Clark County School District’s Comprehensive Annual Budget Report. As President George W. Bush stated: “It’s clearly a budget. It’s got lots of numbers in it.” Each document runs about 260 pages and has a number of interesting revelations in them.
For instance: The Board of School Trustees in 2017-18 will cost the district $810,548. This is $2.53 per student.
The division responsible for the budget is the Business and Finance Division which will this year cost the district $12,415,190. This is $38.78 dollars per student. This is the department that led the district into a budget deficit of somewhere between $60 and $70 million dollars. The district has recently hired a new Chief Financial Officer and we can only hope he will present the superintendent with a tentative budget for 2018-19 that will not require trimming when the actual funding is determined.
The thing that triggered my thoughts on budgeting had nothing to do with home budgeting or CCSD. As I sit at my computer this morning (Friday, Jan. 19) the Senate is debating whether to approve a spending bill or to shut down the government.
The issue is not a money issue; it is whether or not the President will fold on DACA. If the President does not fold, and we will know before the day is out, the government will be “shut down”. Actually, the government will not shut down, only “non-essential” services will be discontinued until the spending bill issue is resolved.
Non-essential is defined in the dictionary as unneeded, superfluous, uncalled for, redundant, dispensable, expendable, unimportant, extraneous. Can someone explain why the government has positions that fall within this definition? If the service is not essential, why is the government providing it? It might be good to close those services down and when the budget is settled to not re-instate them.
One must wonder what it does to the morale of the government worker who is declared non-essential. We need to remember the last time this happened, the non-essential worker merely got a 21 day paid vacation. When the budget was settled the workers received their pay for the days they missed.
Before one panics over a government shutdown it might be well to understand this is not unusual. Since 1976 there have been 18 periods of gaps in funding for the federal government.
There was a 10-day gap under Gerald Ford in 1976. Under President Carter from 1977-1979 there were five gaps in funding ranging from 8-12 days. In each case both Houses of Congress were controlled by Democrats.
These gaps in funding did not require a government shutdown. However, in 1980, the United States Attorney General instructed the federal government to stop normal operations during a funding gap. Any funding gaps since that time resulted in a government shutdown.
Under President Reagan, there were eight gaps in funding ranging from 1-3 days. During this time all but one for year the House of Representatives was controlled by the Democrats and the Senate by Republicans. In Reagan’s last year, both the House and the Senate were controlled by the Democrats.
Under President George W. Bush there was a one day gap in funding, and both the House and Senate was controlled by the Democrats.
While Bill Clinton was in office there was a three-day and a five-day gap in funding. The House and Senate were both Republican.
In 2013, while Barack Obama was President, the longest shutdown, 21 days, occurred. The House was Republican and the Senate was Democrat. This shut down was due to the Republican Senate’s opposition to what has become known as Obamacare being attached to the spending bill.
Today the Democrat minority has attempted to attach the DACA issue to the present spending bill. The House of Representatives passed the spending bill without the DACA attachment. The Senate is having a hard time because, not only are the Democrats trying to force the DACA issue, some Republican senators are joining them. Once again, the Republicans are being out-foxed by the Democrat minority.
As the shutdown occurs, the Democrats will again lay the blame at the feet of the Republicans. However, the President and other Republicans have indicated that they are willing to solve the DACA issue but they are not willing to tie it to the spending bill. If the government shuts down it will be on the head of the Democrats and maverick Republicans.
Thought of the week… Playing the blame game is stupid and childish.
― Loren Weisman