The Desk

July 12, 2011

Vocabulary Builder: Budget Issues

Filed under: Newsletter — Yvonne LaRose @ 1:48 PM
Tags: , , , ,

I usually post a weekly Vocabulary Builder to the “Classes & Trainings” folder of the Bulletins portion of my site. The psychology is that people use terms but they don’t always mean the same thing to different people or in different situations. The result is strained, or even no, communication but a lot of confusion.

To remedy that, especially for the sake of having a good exchange during an interview (showing off your skills) and then for the long haul on your permanent job during those times at the water cooler or (more importantly) during department meetings, I started the Vocabulary Builders.

During the time when these Vocabulary Builders were static and lived in the Career and the Recruiting Tips newsletters, the definitions were provided in the body of the newsletter. Things changed when the exercises moved to non-static mode. I now ask for members to provide how they define the terms. In that way, we can (1) gain an understanding of how others interpret the word(s) or term(s) and (2) gain more meaningful communication.

Now that our history lesson about the Vocabulary Builder is out of the way, here’s this week’s exercise regarding Budget Issues:

Vocabulary Builder: Budget Issues

Congress and the President are having some strong conversations right now as we consider various methods to put the budget (and economy) back on some good footing. While getting into a debate over which strategies are best and which is the best Party to follow isn’t necessarily right for this post, it would be good to get a common ground understanding for the terms being used during your next conversation on the subject.

How are you defining these terms?

  • discretionary budget item
  • debt service
  • static calculation of revenue (without taxation)
  • partisan
  • nonpartisan

Incidentally, which branch of governnment is the one responsible for creating the economic environment in which we live and work?

  • President
  • Congress
  • Judiciary

You can use the Comments section to provide your definition of one or all of the terms (and/or) respond to the challenge question. You can also go to the Bulletins and respond there.


  1. This may sound a bit naive but is it possible that legislators are merely following the directives of their constituents? Therefore, it is the constituents who are not thinking things through and not taking into consideration the consequences of their directives? And lacking input from the voters and citizens, legislators consider the issue, research it, and act on the information while doing the best they can based on historic information about desires.


    Comment by Yvonne LaRose — July 17, 2011 @ 2:40 PM | Reply

  2. that would perhaps be the “Unexpected Consequence” phenomenon that politicians keep referring to…..
    some examples from the UK
    rise in crime is an Unintended Consequence of cutting police force
    rise in deaths in road accidents is an Unintended Consequence in rationalising emergency rooms to regional centres
    rise in prescription medications for depressions is a UC of the economic situation
    rise in applications to further and higher education.

    Not only do our politicians fail to take into consideration the human element – they have totally disregarded the human cost of their decisions


    Comment by magda pio — July 15, 2011 @ 10:09 AM | Reply

  3. Your input indicates there’s some hedging involved in the situations being considered. Even if we were talking about absolutes, there’s the potential for unexpected consequences. Maybe that’s because our politicians have trouble taking into consideration the human element of handling what’s on the table?


    Comment by Yvonne LaRose — July 13, 2011 @ 10:12 PM | Reply

  4. discretionary budget item – one that is about to be axed – not good if it is your project
    debt service – the reason most of us are working now
    static calculation of revenue – assuming things dont change
    partisan – of one party, one side of an argument
    non partisan – a fence sitter

    As for the last question and as a NOT american I would say that the banks are responsible for creating the economic climate in which
    we live and work
    None of those mentioned in the question seem able to make it better


    Comment by magda — July 13, 2011 @ 7:50 PM | Reply

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