Oh dear, have you ever spoken to a finance department before?
Here's a common story I've seen across multiple companies.
1. The Finance department alots the marketing department with a $500k budget.
2. Marketing department blows through the $500k budget on the engineering department and has no productive app to speak to.
3. The Finance department goes back to the Marketing department asking what happen to all of the money they gave them.
4. The Marketing department says "well engineering told it was agile, which meant they didn't know when it would be done and for how much"
5. Finance department: "Ya, you're not getting a budget ever again from us"
> No estimate is clearly better.
Sorry, but this is not how the real world works. Agile assumes a perpetual budget, which is not realistic for most businesses in the world.
 - Personally seen among 100+ and counting.
Unless, you know, there are other systemic issues in the company.
But I agree with you, if the engineering management can't budget and prioritize work to get done, that's a larger issue.
The $500k was just a random number I came up with. Budgets wildly vary based on whether they get allocated weekly/quarterly/yearly/etc. And also it's never "one engineer's estimate", it's usually a project manager who works with N number of engineers to come up with an estimate.
But keep in mind that if a developer is in a sprint, he might start adding tickets to the epic because of technical/organizational issues. Suddenly the epic might look 3x more work than was originally planned. Note this is not theoretical, as it's happened 3 times to our team already this year.
But meanwhile in the example I gave, the developer gets held accountable still for not making the correct estimate. Management just passes it up the chain rather than trying to increase the confidence around the estimate.