The Evolution of the Federal Budget Process

explanatory Essay
997 words
997 words

Federal spending is necessary for the economy and is essential to the accomplishment of national goals and advancement. This is why a budget is needed, however, there is no actual process mentioned in the Constitution that explains how Congress should do this. The Constitution states: No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time. (U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 9). This statement only says that the power has been designated to Congress. It does not stipulate how to use this power nor does it give instructions for the budgeting process. Even as the role of government continued to expand, there was still no procedure for drafting and implementing a budget. It became clear that this lack of protocol hindered Congress’s ability to govern the budget. As a result, Congress forged its own budget process. Congress has passed many acts and amendments, but to no avail because the process still lacks a stable and lasting way of budgeting. Government budgeting has changed, in that, there is a formal process in place now, but it is no more effective than when there was none because the changes made by law were aimed more at gaining and/or reclaiming power and not real budgeting. (Body) At the beginning of the 20th century, government budgeting was a decentralized process more conducive to the small government ideals at that time. The executive branch was less involved in the process and less influential in terms of funding decisions. There were no definitive procedures and no real central authority. The submission process was informal and chaotic. Each agency subm... ... middle of paper ... ...nd executive branches have yet to realize that neither reshuffling power nor changing rules is the answer. It is pointless to take a process that needs to be restructured and add new layers to it. Despite the many changes, its use as a political tool has remained. It is an instrument of control and subject to the politics of the President and Congress. For government budgeting to be effective, the process that guides it must be an evolving one. As the government gets bigger, it will most likely destabilize the existing method. Therefore, it must change to keep pace with the demands and growth of the country. The process must be capable of handling the complexity of our nation and its multifaceted needs so it will always need revisions and restructuring to face these new challenges. Its ultimate goal must be to reinforce the government and strengthen the country.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that government budgeting was a decentralized process conducive to small government ideals at the beginning of the 20th century.
  • Explains that the congressional budget and impoundment control act of 1974 was an attempt to bring order to congress's budget activities.
  • Explains that the constitution doesn't specify how congress should use this power or budgeting process. congress has passed many acts and amendments, but the process is no more effective than when there was none.
  • Opines that the separation of power doctrine and checks and balances system have created a culture of restraint between the legislative and executive branches.
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