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The Politics of Public Budgeting: Getting And Spending, Borrowing And Balancing [Paperback]

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Item description for The Politics of Public Budgeting: Getting And Spending, Borrowing And Balancing by Irene S. Rubin...

As Irene Rubin has shown convincingly in past editions, public budgeting is inherently political. Short-term partisan goals overrun long-term public interest and democratic processes, eroding institutional and public capacity to address collective problems. By presenting federal, state, and local budgeting within a comparative framework, Rubin's classic text gives explicit attention to issues of federalism, always sensitive to the power struggles between the different branches and levels of government. How much control is exerted from above and what degree of autonomy can be found at each level of government? What kind of influence do elected officials wield over government priorities? How do we resolve the tension between patronage, pork, and tax breaks necessary for reelection and the requirements of balance, technical efficiency, and prioritization?

Analyzing each strand of the decision-making process, Rubin shows the extraordinary coordination involved in passing a budget and achieving some level of accountability. By moving beyond the simplistic and rigid "executive proposal and legislative disposal" cycle other books follow, Rubin explores shifts in power over time and explains decisions that do not always flow in a linear fashion.

    A thorough revision at every turn, updates include:

  • the return to massive deficits at the federal level, requiring more attention on the relationship between budget process and outcomes
  • the resurgence of secrecy in recent years, looking at how and why the level of transparency decreases at some times and increases at others the implications of 9/11, exploring the impact of funding wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
  • the difficulty of getting Inspectors General sufficient independence and cooperation to implement their work, showing how these officials are "straddling a barbed wire fence"
  • over twenty new minicase studies

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Item Specifications...

Pages   334
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 6" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 30, 2005
Publisher   CQ Press
ISBN  1933116064  
ISBN13  9781933116068  

Availability  0 units.

More About Irene S. Rubin

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Irene S. Rubin is Professor Emeritusof Public Administration at Northern Illinois University. She is the author of Running in the Red: The Political Dynamics of Urban Fiscal Stress, Shrinking the Federal Government, Class Tax and Power: Municipal Budgeting in the United States, and Balancing the Federal Budget: Eating the Seed Corn or Trimming the Herds, all four of which rely extensively on qualitative interviews. She has written journal articles about citizen participation in local level government in Thailand, how universities adapt when their budgets are cut, and fights between legislative staffers and elected and appointed officials about unworkable policy proposals, all based on qualitative interviews. She is in the middle of an interviewing project about how local officials view and use contracts with the private sector and with other governmental units to provide public services.

Irene S. Rubin has an academic affiliation as follows - Northern Illinois University Northern Illinois University, USA. Northe.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Economics > Debt & Deficits
2Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Economics > Economic Conditions
3Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Economics > Public Finance
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Politics of Public Budgeting: Getting And Spending, Borrowing And Balancing?

Positive Review  Jan 7, 2008
The book was delivered on time just as promised. The book was in the condition described (new). good text book.
Real-time Budgeting View  Dec 20, 2002
Those of you who read Aaron Wildavsky's (1979) "Politics of the Budgetary Process" know the big debate over public budgeting between those who believe public budgeting process is politically incremental and, therefore, who focus mainly on the individual actors and their strategies, and those who propose a more comprehensive and global outlook that focus on dynamics in the larger environment, which subsequently affect and shape how individual actors behave and respond to episodes.

Rather than approaching public budgeting from the narrow perspective of incremental view of public budgeting, which sees budgeting as negotiations among a group of routine actors, bureaucrats, budget officials, chief executives, and legislators, who meet each year and bargain to resolution, in "The Politics of Public Budgeting" Rubin (2000) develops what she calls "real-time budgeting" perspective, which refers to the continual adjustment of decisions in each stream to decisions and information coming from other streams and from the environment. Streams include:

The Revenue Cluster: Revenue decisions include technical estimates of how much income will be available for the following year, assuming no change in the tax structures, and policy decisions about changes in the level or type of taxation. Will taxes be raised or lowered? Will tax breaks be granted, and if so, to whom, for what purpose. Which tax sources will be emphasized, which de-emphasized, with what effect on regions and economic classes, or on age groups?

The Budget Process Cluster: The process cluster concerns how to make budget decisions. Who should participate in the budget deliberations? How influential should interest groups be? How much power should the legislature have? How should the work be divided, and when should particular decisions be made?

The Expenditure Cluster: The expenditure cluster involves some technical estimates of likely expenditures such as for grants that are dependent on formulas and benefit programs whose costs depend on the level of unemployment. Policy relevant expenditure questions involve which programs will be funded at what level, who will benefit from public programs and who will not, and similar questions.

The Balance Cluster: The Balance cluster concerns the basic budgetary question of whether the budget has to be balanced each year with each year's revenues, or whether borrowing is allowed to balance the budget, and if so, how much, for how long, and for what purposes.

Budget Implementation Cluster: Budget implementation cluster concerns the basic budgetary questions of how close actual expenditures should be to the ones planned in the budget, how one can justify variation from the budget plan, and the budget can be remade after it is approved during the budget year.

According to Rubin (2000), "budget outcomes are not solely the result of budget actors negotiating with one another in a free-for-all; outcomes depend on the environment, and on the budget process as well as individual strategies". "Individual strategies have to be framed in a broader context than simply perceived self-interest" (p. 33). What happens in the clusters consequentially is affected by the global environment of public budgeting and the perceptions and strategies of individual budget actors are adjusted accordingly. The clusters model of Rubin (2000) reminisces the "policy environments framework" (developed by Nakamura and Smallwood [1980]) that views public policy process as a simultaneously interaction among individual actors, elements of importance and arenas of power in three policy environments (policy formation, policy implementation and policy evaluation environments) with each environment having influence on the other ones with the help of communication linkages that let each actor in one environment the opportunity to send message to the others in the other environments. In Rubin's real-time budgeting view, each cluster is imbued with different questions and each cluster attracts a different characteristic set of actors and generates its typical pattern of politics (p. 27) and what happens in each cluster is influenced by the episodes in the larger policy environment.

Based on the real-time view of public budgeting, Rubin (2000) organizes her book into nine major chapters, with each chapter explaining the clusters in detail and supporting arguments with didactic short case studies. In general, the book provides the reader with a dynamic and rich description of budgeting process in public sector.

Having reviewed public budgeting process, Rubin (2000) recommends that a balance of power should be established and maintained between the executive and the legislature, so one can catch the other at bad practice-a recommendation running contrary to the argument that to solve federal budget deficit problem either the executive or the legislature has to be empowered.

Overall, Rubin's book is a well-written, clear, and descriptive account of public budgeting process, and, so entertaining and engaging that create a sense in the reader that s/he should read more about the subject to better comprehend the complexity and dynamism of public budgeting. I recommend "The Politics of Public Budgeting" as a powerful text to those who are interested in the subject. Also recommended are "Politics of the Budgetary Process" by Aaron Wildavsky (1979), "Public Budgeting Systems" by Robert D. Lee and Ronald W. Johnson (1998), "Public Budgeting in America" by Thomas D. Lynch (1995), and "The Federal Budget: Politics, Policy, Process" by Allen Schick (2000).


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