• The glorious ad Misericordiam Budgeting Method

    Ben D. Kritz

    Ben D. Kritz

    It’s taken more than three years, but it seems the Aquino Administration has finally decided to drop the pretense of following the same tired old accounting and budgeting methods every other government uses, and reveal the exciting new theory they’ve secretly been using:  The ad Misericordiam Budgeting Method.

    Yes, apparently the rest of the world has been totally bungling national accounting and economics in general since, well, about the time it became intellectually-fashionable to reject the concept of the “divine right of kings.” Adam Smith? Richard Cantillon? Friedrich von Hayek? Milton Friedman? Fools, all of them. The real genius, the real center of the economic universe, as it were, is right here.

    How do we know this? Because, as President Benigno Aquino 3rd reported last week after returning from the meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative, “The Philippines has finally found a firm footing in the international arena, with big players now listening to the voice of the fastest-growing economy in the region.” Of course, that was already obvious—President Aquino would not have such a busy travel schedule, and have to take such a large entourage with him each time if he were not such an important global leader—but it’s still reassuring to have him confirm it. That should quiet all the naysayers who stubbornly insist that the credit ratings upgrades the Philippines receives faster than anyone can keep track of have more to do with the $20 million, or so the Aquino administration has spent to obtain them than the President’s astonishing economic talent.

    He has achieved this remarkable success, manifested not only by the Philippines’ new status as a global economic powerhouse, but also by the wide support he continues to enjoy among Filipinos, as shown by regular surveys conducted by firms partly-owned by his relatives of 1,600 or so people in Metro Manila. While some have criticized the way the surveys are managed as simply being exercises in reinforcing the confirmation bias of the administration’s supporters, they simply don’t understand that they have to be done that way; if they were not, the noisy minority of erring supporters of the President’s corrupt and evil predecessor would drown out the truth and might make everyone think things are not going as well as they actually are.

    Is the rest of the world really ready for the real secret behind “Aquinomics”? Are there any economic thinkers even alive today who could possibly wrap their heads around this? There may not be, but it is a leap of evolution so astounding—the only things it could even be compared to are the invention of the wheel, or Neuticles—that it can’t be kept from Mankind any longer. It’s called the ad Misericordiam (Appeal to Pity) Budgeting Method and it works like this:
    Step one: Identify that which is evil. This is easier than it sounds; evil is almost always personified by the people who belong to a different political party, or have a differing point of view. After all, did those people say they were not corrupt, or that they practiced “good governance”? No, of course not. So they’re evil, and everything they do is evil, too. Anyone else is not evil.

    Step two: Avoid giving money to the people who are evil, to prevent it from being spent on evil things.

    Step three: Give all the money to the people who are not evil; refer to step one for guidance. According to the underlying theory, the one doing the giving, i.e. the President, is by definition the least-evil of all, and should therefore get most of the money. Further research is needed, however, to determine if the lack-of-evil/economic effectiveness relationship is a universally positive correlation, or if the variable A in the expression A>0, where A equals “Aquino,” is a necessary modifier.

    Step four, and this is the important one: If and when anyone complains that any or all of steps one through three have led to widespread fraud and financial inefficiency, defend the process by appealing to the compassion and understanding of the people. For example, if a major disbursement method of the ad Misericordiam Budgeting process is challenged before the Supreme Court, point out that large, established government institutions such as the Department of Education, or Department of Health are not the appropriate agencies to handle things like making access to affordable education or medical care, and that people will become stupid or die if the method is prohibited.

    If protestors (obviously those from the evil, noisy minority) gather in the streets to call for more boring, conventional budgeting methods—the kind that are really hard, and even require a calculator and a sheet of scratch paper to figure out—patiently explain how fair the intentions of the ad Misericordiam Budgeting Method really are, and how many people around the country are thankful for the footpaths, waiting sheds, and basketball courts that have enriched their lives. Point out that Iloilo has some really nice things, like a big sidewalk along the river and some kind of convention center or whatnot, all because public money was entrusted to someone who is non-evil. If the misinformed critics are still skeptical, have the Department of Budget and Management put up a website, so they can see how the people of Kawit were blessed with P30 million for some kind of dental care, and weren’t even penalized by the inconvenient fact that their Congressman had left the Legislature for a Cabinet post two months earlier.

    Indeed, the people of the Philippines just do not realize how lucky they are to have President Aquino and his deep, innovative economic genius.

    Of course, even the Nobel Committee overlooked him for this year’s prize in Economics, which is a real shame, but sooner or later, the world will recognize the skills—in the meantime, the Philippines can enjoy its peace and prosperity, made all the more sweeter by the rest of the world’s envy.


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