The Federal Budget: Politics, Policy, Process

The Federal Budget: Politics, Policy, Process

The Federal Budget: Politics, Policy, Process

The Federal Budget: Politics, Policy, Process

Synopsis

"This book is an essential guide to understanding the federal budget process. Allen Schick brings together three critical elements of budget strategy: the political tactics and relationships that determine budgetary success or failure; the policy objectives pursued through the budget's revenue and spending proposals; and the rules and procedures that govern congressional and presidential action on these proposals. Politics, policy, and process are integrated in a series of chapters that walk the reader through the many stages and complexities of federal budgeting. The author explains how budgeting works at each stage of executive and legislative action, from preparation of the president's budget through the appropriation and expenditure of funds. Throughout the book, he highlights documents actually used in federal budgeting. The book provides an analysis of the early years of Bill Clinton's presidency, discusses budgetary actions already taken to deal with pressing social issues, and examines the outlook for the years ahead. Schick explains how the budget got so out of control and what can be done about it. He concludes with an assessment of the potential effects of current and proposed budgetary reforms." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

When the first edition of this book was published in 1995, the federal government had just completed twenty-five consecutive years of budget deficits. To many observers, the budget predicament was hopeless. The nation's leaders and institutions seemed to lack the political will and fiscal tools to rein in spending and produce sufficient revenue to balance the books. The country's economic future was at risk--if the budget could not be balanced when the elderly were a small, stable portion of the population, how would the government meet its commitments early in the twenty-first century, when an aging society would greatly add to its financial burdens?

Barely five years later, the federal government is now accumulating record surpluses that, according to official projections, may enable it to pay off the public debt by the time the baby-boom generation floods the retirement ranks. Like any other projection, those that foresee a rosy future are likely to be wide of the mark. Projections are predicated on assumptions about future economic performance and political actions. Variances from the expected economic course affect future budget outcomes, as do decisions by Congress and the president. Therefore, the odds are that the next edition of this book will show a different budget outlook than the current one. Change is constant in budgeting.

Budgetary change is an amalgam of politics, policy, and process; all three contributed to the turnaround in the budget's fortunes. During the . . .

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