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Last week, the D.C. Council belly-flopped when it dove into the task of trimming city bloat, falling far short of the $180 million in cuts requested by the financial control board. By the time the smoke and mirrors cleared, it became apparent that the city had actually added to the city’s deficit by spending some of the savings it had achieved. The council’s creative math went like this: By eliminating a few jobs and privatizing others, the council determined it had saved $40 million. Although this amount was still $140 million off the control board’s mark, Chairman Dave Clarke proposed putting $10 million of the $40 million “savings” into a rainy day fund. Typically, a rainy-day fund is surplus set aside for emergencies. The obvious question is: How is it possible to have a surplus when the council is $140 million short of its budget objectives? According to a staffer for Clarke, the council uses a rainy-day fund as “a budgetary device that allows us more discretion on our spending. It’s part of the fantasy world we operate in.” Because the council didn’t save what it was supposed to, there is actually no money in the fund. But Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans didn’t realize that and proposed that $4 million from the fund be immediately put toward the city’s overdue Metro payment. Evans’ proposal passed. Once the city realizes it spent $4 million it never had, it will be that much more in the red.