With the retirement of the baby boom generation drawing closer, concerns about the sustainability of current policies have become critical elements of the budget process. The seriousness of this problem should prompt us to reexamine the concepts and goals underpinning the budget process and find ways to focus budget decision-makers on the long-term implications of our current policy paths. This paper reviews some of these challenges and recommends ways they might be addressed.
Recently, the White House released its comprehensive FY2010 budget request, including detailed proposals for each agency, along with “Analytical Perspectives,” a description of all proposed spending cuts and program eliminations, and an updated set of summary tables. Also released was the Treasury Department’s “Green Book,” which compiles all tax proposals within the budget. This paper analyses those documents.
This paper reviews the classes of information included in the budget resolution. It then examines potential changes to the contents in an attempt to focus deliberations and debate on core budgetary and fiscal questions. This paper also includes a discussion of current practice and budget principles. A more detailed discussion of fiscal information is included in a separate paper.
This paper lays out a model for converting the concurrent budget resolution into a joint resolution. It includes a description of the model and a discussion of its key advantages and disadvantages. Particular attention is devoted to how it would impact budget enforcement, both in terms of how budget limits would be enforced and the processes used to implement, comply with, or modify the limits.