Public budgets generally arise from two related and often contrasting concepts 1) that the people, thorough the Constitution, granted the federal government limited powers to spend to accomplish legitimate constitutional ends and 2) that the people, through the Constitution granted the federal government a limited taxing power in order to raise revenues to cover those expenditures. Over two centuries after these limited grants were made, debates rage over the growing number of kinds, types, and categories of expenditures made by an expanding federal government and the prolific use of debt to finance expenditures that that are beyond the government’s means. As is so often true of public sector budgeting, the decisions related to the role of government, the spending it obligates the American people to absorb, and the strategies employed in financing obligations beyond the Nation’s means are largely shaped by a political dynamic. This week we will begin to explore the politics of spending.
Topic: The politics and policy of taxes and deficit spending.
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As you have seen, public budgeting is inherently political. Indeed, it is driven by an acutely political cycle: For example: 1) Politicians promise benefits in order to get elected; 2) Those promised benefits often come at high expense; 3) If campaign promises are to be kept, taxes must be raised or reorganized in order to transfer and transform private wealth into government revenue to cover those expenses; 4) Individuals losing wealth through higher taxes may seek to remove from office the politicians that raised their taxes, and so on. In light of this cycle, many individuals, institutions, political challengers and think tanks may work to hold elected officials accountable for their public budgeting decisions. In this week’s discussion board forum, please provide and explain an example of political strategies used to hold elected officials accountable for taxing/spending policy and an example of a political strategy used by politicians to avoid the potentially negative consequences of deficit spending or tax increases.