Federal Domestic Outlays, 1983-1990: A Data Book

Federal Domestic Outlays, 1983-1990: A Data Book

Federal Domestic Outlays, 1983-1990: A Data Book

Federal Domestic Outlays, 1983-1990: A Data Book

Excerpt

Everyone no doubt harbors feelings, at least occasionally, that he or she is not receiving benefits from the government in proportion to the tax burden that he or she is bearing. Such feelings are quite natural. Questions of fairness and equity are always at the heart of discussions about the distribution of public benefits and burdens. Elected officials, no less than the public, are sensitive to such questions. In fact, elected officials may be more sensitive to distributional issues. Failure to bring home a "fair share" of government dollars calls into question the performance of elected representatives. Advancement within the legislature and the opportunity to seek higher office typically hinge on being reelected by comfortable margins. At the extreme, inattention to the home district may jeopardize a member's prospects for reelection.

The stakes are particularly high in times of fiscal retrenchment when competition over the public purse intensifies. At such times, increased benefits for some districts come at the expense of others. This was the basic fact underlying federalbudgetary politics in the 1980s. Budgetary conflicts will only intensify in the 1990s. Under these conditions, information about the distribution of federal dollars becomes paramount. Unfortunately, to date, detailed information about the distribution of federal dollars has not been readily available or accessible. This volume attempts to address this need by providing extensive information about the distribution of federal domestic outlays across the 435 congressional districts, the 50 states, and the major regions of the United States for the period Erorn 1983 through 1990.

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