Participatory Budgeting Committee Refuses to Pay My College Tuition

Brian Liu, Contributing Writer

Much like New Year’s resolutions, the Cambridge Participatory Budgeting (PB) initiative sounds like a great idea—until you realize it’s actually a front for the government to control the masses. That was also my excuse last year for failing to work out six days a week (gym memberships are yet another sign of late-stage capitalism). If, like the vast majority of Cambridge students, you haven’t heard of Cambridge PB, allow me to enlighten you!

Every year, the city of Cambridge digs into its deep pockets of pilfered tax plunderage and sets aside a large sum of money. Then, civically engaged Cambridge residents over the age of 12 can submit proposals for what to do with said stash of cash. As you might expect, the envisagements with the most votes are funded and put into effect. At face value, this seems a pristine demonstration of democracy in our community. But don’t be a sheep; the plot gets deep. The City manipulates everything behind the scenes, wielding dictatorial power to pick and choose what appears on the ballot.

Funding my college tuition would objectively, subjectively, and adjectively have a larger impact than any other proposal.”

The City claims that its aim is to “improve the lives of Cambridge residents.” But for the sixth year in a row, I, a civically engaged member of the Cambridge community over the age of twelve, have humbly submitted a proposal for $200,000 to fund my college tuition. And for the sixth year in a row, the City has rejected me. Just imagine how heartbroken I was when the City turned its back on me (me, a Cambridge resident!) yet again this year. Indeed, it was this egregious sin that forced my hand, making it my moral obligation to write this article.

Funding my college education would objectively, subjectively, and adjectively have a larger positive impact than any other proposal. Take one of the 2019 winners for example: the extension of outdoor WiFi in public places. CRLS doesn’t even have decent wireless connectivity anywhere in the Arts Building—what is adding more public WiFi going to do?

In order to further prove the injustice of participatory budgeting, I created an intricate statistical machine learning linear regression quantitative peer-reviewed model based on the winning proposal with the least votes every year. The model revealed an approximately Gaussian distribution attributed by a focal point of 1650 and a capricity quantum of 492. Consider that there are 1867 students enrolled in CRLS this year. My agglomerative clustering data augmented iterative logistic computer system estimates that the chance of my college tuition proposal winning is about 90%, if every student in CRLS voted for it. Alas, the wicked City won’t even afford me this prospect.

The only conclusion I can come to is that the City is pulling off an elaborate scheme in order to maintain the trust of its citizens, rigging the voting to give an illusion of democracy. But worry not, I have uncovered this James-Bond-villain-esque plot. And as a civically engaged Cambridge resident, it is my duty to denounce these charlatans who speak of democracy but bring about authoritarianism, for participatory budgeting is the clear antithesis of democracy.

This piece also appears in our December 2021 print edition.