Tuesday, January 31, 2012

the process isn't the problem

Budget guru Stan Collender has a good column in Roll Call criticizing the House Budget Committee's recent batch of proposed changes to the congressional budget process. He especially knocks the value of two-year budgeting as reducing accountability and leading to budgets by supplementals,. which receive less scrutiny.

He also reminds us of received wisdom from earlier congressional budget officials, including Republican Rudolph Penner:

Although it’s repeated often, it’s been more than a quarter-century since Congressional Budget Office Director Rudolph Penner provided one of the most famous quotes in federal budget history when he said that the budget process is not the problem; the problem is the problem. Penner also told a House Rules subcommittee reviewing the budget process in 1984: “A process, no matter how well designed, cannot make difficult problems easy.”
That's the real problem today -- willpower and political leadership to reasonable compromises, not process.

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