Strategic Budgeting

Roy Meyers
Offers a new understanding of the source of federal budget deficits


Strategic Budgeting offers a new way to understand how federal budget deficits developed. Rejecting the incrementalist theory of budgetary strategy, this study focuses on the micro level—the competitive process of budgeting for individual programs—to advance a theory based on the changing structural characteristics of the budgetary process itself. The book illustrates how advocates for spending have creatively taken advantage of flawed accounting practices to make costs less visible and documents how they designed programs to avoid budgetary controls. Strategic Budgeting also shows how controllers reacted to these tactics by improving accounting rules and budget procedures. The book concludes with practical recommendations for improving the process of budgeting for individual programs.

Roy T. Meyers is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Praise / Awards

  • "Although the book never discusses a constitutional amendment to balance the budget, it should be required reading for anyone who advocates this. Presumably such an amendment would be the ultimate weapon for controllers, but this book is a guide to budgetary strategies used by advocates to avoid controllers, and a catalogue of ploys that might be used to defeat the purposes of such an amendment. It should also be required for those who wish to monitor the success of the new Republican Congress in reducing expenditures."
    Journal of Politics
  • "[Meyers] spent much of the 1980s as an analyst for the Congressional Budget Office, and so he knows just about every budgeting gimmick there is to know. He traces how flaws in the government's budget data can lead to wildly incorrect assumptions, which in turn can be exploited by clever players with a stake in the budget."
    National Journal
  • ". . . [A]ll scholars of the budget process and all advocates of reform should read this book. Since most federal policymaking now is done within the context of the budget process, all public policy scholars and reformers should read this book. In addition, those who read or conduct statistical studies of the budget should read the book . . . ."
    Policy Studies Journal
  • Winner: National Academy of Public Administration's Louis Bronlow Book Award

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 248pp.
  • figures, tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 1994
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10362-1

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  • $84.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 1996
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08414-2

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  • $38.95 U.S.