As budgetary concerns have come to dominate Congressional action, the design and implementation of welfare programs have come under greater scrutiny. This book focuses on the food stamp program to examine how the growing integration of welfare and budgeting has affected both politics and people.
Applying insightful analysis to this important policy topic, Ronald F. King looks at the effects on welfare transfers of the kinds of budgetary rules adopted by Congress: discretion, entitlement, and expenditure caps. King uses models based on these forms to interpret the events in the history of the food stamp program up to the welfare reform of 1996, and he shows how these different budget rules have affected political strategies among key actors and policy outcomes.
King analyzes tensions in the program between budgetary concerns and entitlement, revealing that budget mechanisms which seek to cap the growth of entitlement spending have perverse but predictable effects. He also explores the broader conflict between procedural and substantive justice, which pits inclusive democratic decision-making against special protections for the needy and vulnerable in society.
The food stamp program offers a valuable opportunity for studying the influence of shifting institutional factors. In an era when budgetary anxieties coexist with continuing poverty, King's book sheds new light on the increasing fiscalization of welfare in America.
Created in 1974, the U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has become one of the most influential forces in national policymaking. A critical component of our system of checks and balances, the CBO has given Congress the analytical capacity to challenge the president on budget issues while it protects the public interest, providing honest numbers about Congress's own budget proposals. The book discusses the CBO’s role in larger budget policy and the more narrow "scoring" of individual legislation, such as its role in the 2009–2010 Obama health care reform. It also describes how the first director, Alice Rivlin, and seven successors managed to create and sustain a nonpartisan, highly credible agency in the middle of one of the most partisan institutions imaginable.
The Congressional Budget Office: Honest Numbers, Power, and Policy draws on interviews with high-level participants in the budget debates of the last 35 years to tell the story of the CBO. A combination of political history, economic history, and organizational development, The Congressional Budget Office offers an important, first book-length history of this influential agency.
Over the last twenty years, business responses to progressive reform in Latin America have shifted dramatically. Until the 1990s, progressive movements in Latin America suffered violent repression sanctioned by the private sector and other socio-political elites. The powerful case studies in this volume show how business responses to reform have become more open–ended as Latin America’s democracies have deepened, with repression tempered by the economic uncertainties of globalization, the political and legal constraints of democracy, and shifting cultural understandings of poverty and race.
Enduring Reform presents five case studies from Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina in which marginalized groups have successfully forged new cultural and economic spaces and won greater autonomy and political voice. Bringing together NGO’s, local institutions, social movements, and governments, these initiatives have developed new mechanisms to work ‘within the system,’ while also challenging the system’s logic and constraints.
Through firsthand interviews, the contributors capture local businesspeople’s understandings of these progressive initiatives and record how they grapple with changes they may not always welcome, but must endure. Among their criteria, the contributors evaluate the degree to which businesspeople recognize and engage with reform movements and how they frame electoral counterproposals to reformist demands. The results show an uneven response to reform, dependent on cultural as much or more than economic factors, as businesses move to decipher, modify, collaborate with, outmaneuver, or limit progressive innovations.
From the rise of worker-owned factories in Buenos Aires, to the collective marketing initiatives of impoverished Mayans in San Cristóbal de las Casas, the success of democracy in Latin America depends on powerful and cooperative social actions and actors, including the private sector. As the cases in Enduring Reform show, the democratic context of Latin America today presses businesspeople to endure, accept, and at times promote progressive change in unprecedented ways, even as they act to limit and constrain it.
The Logic of Delegation
D. Roderick Kiewiet and Mathew D. McCubbins University of Chicago Press, 1991 Library of Congress JK1029.K54 1991 | Dewey Decimal 328.730769
Why do majority congressional parties seem unable to act as an effective policy-making force? They routinely delegate their power to others—internally to standing committees and subcommittees within each chamber, externally to the president and to the bureaucracy. Conventional wisdom in political science insists that such delegation leads inevitably to abdication—usually by degrees, sometimes precipitously, but always completely.
In The Logic of Delegation, however, D. Roderick Kiewiet and Mathew D. McCubbins persuasively argue that political scientists have paid far too much attention to what congressional parties can't do. The authors draw on economic and management theory to demonstrate that the effectiveness of delegation is determined not by how much authority is delegated but rather by how well it is delegated.
In the context of the appropriations process, the authors show how congressional parties employ committees, subcommittees, and executive agencies to accomplish policy goals. This innovative study will force a complete rethinking of classic issues in American politics: the "autonomy" of congressional committees; the reality of runaway federal bureaucracy; and the supposed dominance of the presidency in legislative-executive relations.
Chicago and New York share similar backgrounds but have had strikingly different fates. Tracing their fortunes from the 1930s to the present day, Ester R. Fuchs examines key policy decisions which have influenced the political structures of these cities and guided them into, or clear of, periods of economic crisis.
With a new foreword by New York's former governor, Mario Cuomo, this revised and updated edition of Memos to the Governor is a concise guidebook that takes the reader behind governmental fiscal gobbledygook to explain in clear, understandable prose the technical, economic, and political dynamics of budget making. At all levels of government, the budget has become the battleground for policymaking and politics. This book helps current and future public administrators untangle the knotty processes of budget preparation and implementation.
Dall W. Forsythe, who served as budget director under Governor Cuomo, outlines the budgeting process through a series of memos from a budget director to a newly elected governor—a format that helps readers with little or no background to understand complicated financial issues. He covers all of the steps of budget preparation, from strategy to execution, explaining technical vocabulary, and discussing key topics including baseline budgeting, revenue forecasting, and gap-closing options.
Forsythe brings fresh insights into such issues as the importance of a multiyear strategic budget plan, the impact of the business cycle on state budgets, the tactical problems of getting budgets adopted by legislatures, and, of course, the relationship between governor and budget officer. Memos to the Governor is a painless, practical introduction to budget preparation for students of and practitioners in public administration and public-sector financial management.
This revised and updated edition of Memos to the Governor is a concise and highly readable guidebook that explains in clear, understandable prose the technical, economic, and political dynamics of budget making. Updated with many new examples of budget quandaries from recent years, this book helps current and future public administrators untangle the knotty processes of budget preparation and implementation.
Authors Dall W. Forsythe and Donald J. Boyd outline the budgeting process through a series of memos from a budget director to a newly elected governor—a format that helps readers with little or no background understand complicated financial issues. They cover all of the steps of budget preparation, from strategy to execution, explaining technical vocabulary, and discussing key topics including baseline budgeting, revenue forecasting, and gap-closing options.
Forsythe and Boyd bring fresh insights into such issues as the importance of a multiyear strategic budget plan, the impact of the business cycle on state budgets, the tactical problems of getting budgets adopted by legislatures, and, of course, the relationship between governor and budget officer. Memos to the Governor is a painless, practical introduction to budget preparation for students of and practitioners in public administration and public-sector financial management.
Budgeting has long been considered a rational process using neutral tools of financial management, but this outlook fails to consider the outside influences on leaders’ behavior. Steven G. Koven shows that political culture (moralistic, traditionalistic, individualistic) and ideological orientations (liberal vs. conservative) are at least as important as financial tools in shaping budgets.
Koven examines budget formation at the national, state, and local levels to demonstrate the strong influence of attitudes about how public money should be generated and spent. In addition to statistical data, the book includes recent case studies: the 1997 budget agreement; Governor George W. Bush’s use of the budget process to advance a conservative policy agenda in the state of Texas; and Mayor Marion Barry’s abuses of power in Washington, D.C.
Koven demonstrates that administrative principles are at best an incomplete guide for public officials and that budgeters must learn to interpret signals from the political environment.
Government spending has increased dramatically in the United States since World War II despite the many rules intended to rein in the insatiable appetite for tax revenue most politicians seem to share. Drawing on examples from the federal and state governments, Rules and Restraint explains in lucid, nontechnical prose why these budget rules tend to fail, and proposes original alternatives for imposing much-needed fiscal discipline on our legislators.
One reason budget rules are ineffective, David Primo shows, is that politicians often create and preserve loopholes to protect programs that benefit their constituents. Another reason is that legislators must enforce their own provisions, an arrangement that is seriously compromised by their unwillingness to abide by rules that demand short-term sacrifices for the sake of long-term gain. Convinced that budget rules enacted through such a flawed legislative process are unlikely to work, Primo ultimately calls for a careful debate over the advantages and drawbacks of a constitutional convention initiated by the states—a radical step that would bypass Congress to create a path toward change. Rules and Restraint will be required reading for anyone interested in institutional design, legislatures, and policymaking.
One of the most important changes in Congress in decades were the extensive congressional reforms of the 1970s, which moved the congressional budget process into the focus of congressional policy making and shifted decision making away from committees. This overwhelming attention to the federal budget allowed party leaders to emerge as central decision makers.
Palazzolo traces the changing nature of the Speaker of the House's role in the congressional budget process from the passage of the Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, through the 100th Congress in 1988. As the deficit grew and budget politics became more partisan in the 1980s, the Speaker became more involved in policy-related functions, such as setting budget priorities and negotiating budget agreements with Senate leaders and the president. Consequently, the Speaker's role as leader of the institution was subordinated to his role as a party leader.
Michael Meeropol argues that the ballooning of the federal budget deficit was not a serious problem in the 1980s, nor were the successful recent efforts to get it under control the basis for the prosperous economy of the mid-1990s. In this controversial book, the author provides a close look at what actually happened to the American economy during the years of the "Reagan Revolution" and reveals that the huge deficits had no negative effect on the economy. It was the other policies of the Reagan years--high interest rates to fight inflation, supply-side tax cuts, reductions in regulation, increased advantages for investors and the wealthy, the unraveling of the safety net for the poor--that were unsuccessful in generating more rapid growth and other economic improvements.
Meeropol provides compelling evidence of the failure of the U.S. economy between 1990 and 1994 to generate rising incomes for most of the population or improvements in productivity. This caused, first, the electoral repudiation of President Bush in 1992, followed by a repudiation of President Clinton in the 1994 Congressional elections. The Clinton administration made a half-hearted attempt to reverse the Reagan Revolution in economic policy, but ultimately surrendered to the Republican Congressional majority in 1996 when Clinton promised to balance the budget by 2000 and signed the welfare reform bill. The rapid growth of the economy in 1997 caused surprisingly high government revenues, a dramatic fall in the federal budget deficit, and a brief euphoria evident in an almost uncontrollable stock market boom. Finally, Meeropol argues powerfully that the next recession, certain to come before the end of 1999, will turn the predicted path to budget balance and millennial prosperity into a painful joke on the hubris of public policymakers.
Accessibly written as a work of recent history and public policy as much as economics, this book is intended for all Americans interested in issues of economic policy, especially the budget deficit and the Clinton versus Congress debates. No specialized training in economics is needed.
"A wonderfully accessible discussion of contemporary American economic policy. Meeropol demonstrates that the Reagan-era policies of tax cuts and shredded safety nets, coupled with strident talk of balanced budgets, have been continued and even brought to fruition by the neo-liberal Clinton regime." --Frances Fox Piven, Graduate School, City University of New York
Michael Meeropol is Chair and Professor of Economics, Western New England College.