Fiscal responsibility in constitutional democracy by James M. Buchanan, Richard E. Wagner

By James M. Buchanan, Richard E. Wagner

This quantity includes the papers, besides the discussant's re­ marks, provided at a convention on 'Federal economic Responsibility', held on the home, scorching Springs, Virginia, on 26-27 March 1976. also, we, the editors, have integrated an introductory essay which units forth a few of our history suggestions that during­ shaped our association of the convention and which additionally de­ scribes a few of our reactions to the convention. This convention was once backed by way of the freedom Fund, Inc. of Indianapolis, Indiana, which integrated this convention into its total software directed towards the examine of the beliefs of a unfastened society of accountable participants. on the topic of this attempt, the freedom Fund additionally assisted in aiding examine on Democracy in Deficit: The Political Legacy of Lord Keynes, by means of James M. Buchanan and Richard E. Wagner (New York: educational Press, 1977). either Democracy in Deficit and the convention have been de­ signed to check one vital element of the freedom Fund's common set of matters, specifically the' approach within which political con­ siderations impact the macroeconomic elements of budgetary coverage, thereby, in flip, influencing the way forward for American liberty and prosperity. we're so much thankful to the freedom Fund for his or her efforts, and we're happy that Enid Goodrich, William Fletcher, Neil McLeod, and Helen Schultz of the freedom Fund have been in a position to attend the conference.

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Ronnie Davis, The New Economics and the Old Economists (Ames: The Iowa State University Press, 1971) pp. 12, 18-19. Although in many ways an excellent corrective to the strawmanlike treatment of pre-Keynesian economic views on anti-depression policy proposals, Davis's study is somewhat selective in its approach. At least in regard to deficit financing and the conscious advocacy of the budget as an instrument of fiscal policY, I am persuaded that Keynes's work involved a genuine revolution in thinking.

Reflation is the lesson of the hour for everything; for balancing the budget as well as other things. 26 Fisher also recognized that it was best to issue public debt to the Federal Reserve System so that money creation would accompany deficit financing. To put Fisher's arguments into more modern dress, he was saying that a divorce of spending decisions from taxing decisions was desirable during the depression. Expenditure expansion should take place until "reflation," that is, growth in aggregate economic activity, requires once again the recognition of the need to tie taxing and spending policies so that the "constitutional" rule of budget balancing will once again serve as a constraint on choice.

At one remove, therefore, taxation is linked to deficit financing. Paradoxically, inflationary expectations may be the ultimate limiting device on debt creation. The unwritten fiscal constitution of the United States that once involved the maxim of the balanced budget was grounded ultimately on moral and economic mythology. This mystique had the result of chaining Leviathan. Those who see in its unleashing a threat to the liberty of the individual must hope for a new moral equivalent to the budget-balance rule.

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