The word budget has filled our screens and airwaves all week, but where does the concept come from?
History tells tales of astring of British monarchssquandering the country’s tax revenues and racking up large debts.
The office of the Treasurer began as theExchequer during the Norman invasion of the 11thcentury and wasresponsible for managing Royal revenues and issuing and collecting cash.
Charles II put the country’s finances in such a state by 1667reform was needed to forceTreasury to approve all Parliament spending.
By the 18thcentury an annual budget appeared in the form of aspeech on the country’s finances givenby the Chancellor.
Once activated, the wordbudget swiftly become a term for any financial statement or plan.
Even this did not protect the people’s money, withthe imprisonment of the Chancellor inside the Tower of London in 1720 followinga complex market crash.
It would be almost 70 years before the concept of income tax would be introduced.
Even the timing of the budget comes from the Northern Hemisphere, with spring being the season land tax was collected andmuch of the country’s income at the time was produced by agriculture.
The word’s first meaning in English was to describe a leather pouch, wallet or bag and comes from the old French wordbougette, or purse.
By1880budgetevolvedtodescribeasenseofplanningexpenditure and by 1958 it was used as a colloquial term for something cheap.Bulge and bilge are two related words remainingin the English language today.
The government defines the budget on its website asexpressing “the government’s social and political priorities, and how the government intends to achieve these”.
This definition shows us that working parents, university students, Indigenous Australians, public servants and climate change are not prioritiesof Malcolm Turnbull’s 21stcentury government.
“Jobs and growth” became a prominent phrase in the lead up to the budget this year, although the budget seems to dismiss recent research behind drivers of economic growth.
TheInternational Monetary Fund said in a discussion paperin 2014 thatcountries with high levels of inequality suffered lower growth than nations that distributed incomes more evenly.
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