Jim "When in Doubt Mumble" Boren believes he has isolated the method that politicians use when they consider federal budget cuts. The president of the International Association of Professional Bureaucrats, says a "yes" answer to any of the following questions means the program is safe to chop.

1) Does the program cost money?

2) Regardless of its soundness, does the program have a title that makes it sound like a boondoggle?

3) Will fewer than 2,000 voters per congressional district be affected negatively, or, if more than 2,000, can the negative effects be postponed until after the election?

4) Can it be claimed that the cut will benefit a few poor people, directly or indirectly?

5) Can the cut be described in popular and easy-to-sell terms? Can it be wrapped in the flag or be tied to communist conspirators?

6) If the cut is small but has a powerful and vocal lobby, can the cut be a supported trade-off for a more expensive program that does not have an effective lobby?

7) Is the program about to be terminated anyway, and can an immediate cut improve the administration's score?

8) Can the cut be traded quietly for a more valuable license, marketing advantage, appointment, or other noncost consideration?