The Public Interest

Budgeting more, deciding less

Eric M. Patashnik

Winter 2000

BUDGETING is governing,” declares Pete V. Domenici, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Few would challenge this statement. Budgeting has always been at the heart of policy making. Since the early 1980s, however, the budget has been the major issue of American politics. As Norman Ornstein observes, elected officials, businessmen, and journalists alike have been “obsessed with the budget process, endlessly analyzing and arguing over it.” Though people might disagree about how well (or poorly) the budget process is working, few doubt that the budget matters more than it once did.

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