Federal Budget Policy | Howell E. Jackson | January 08, 2015

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Federal Budget Policy

Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson Show/Hide

Federal Budget Policy

Professor Howell E. Jackson


Harvard Law School


Spring 2014

Class Meeting Times:


First Eight Weeks of Semester: Thursday and Fridays, 10:15 am to 11:45 am (except for 3/14 & 3/27)


Last Four Weeks of Semester: Thursdays and Fridays: 9:50 am to 11:50 am


Room: Griswold 110


Office Hours: Thursdays, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm (or by appointment)


Contact Information:


Howell E. Jackson (hjackson@law.harvard.edu),Griswold 510


Assistant: Carole Mason (camason@law.harvard.edu),Griswold 5 South



Introduction


The goal of this course is to introduce students to federal budget policy in the United States with an emphasis on both legal structures and inter-disciplinary perspectives. The semester will begin with an overview of the history of budget for the federal government and an introduction to the components of the current federal budget. We will then examine in some detail congressional budget procedures, where the most elaborate and prominent system of budgetary procedures have been developed, albeit a system of rules that is honored as often in breach as in observance. We will next take up the Executive power of the purse in a variety of contexts, including government shutdowns and debt ceiling crisis, as well as Judicial power of the purse, including its interaction with the doctrine of Sovereign Immunity. Having worked through the budgeting powers of the three branches of the federal government, we will next take up entitlement reform, accounting standards for government bodies, selected topics associated with budgeting in a federal system, and finally state budget practices. In addition to its substantive coverage, the course is designed to introduce students to principal sources of information on federal budgeting and leading academic perspectives on budget policy. Students will also be expected to do their own original research on current issues in federal budget policy.


During the first eight weeks of the semester, the course will meet for fourteen 90 minutes sessions during which we will work through the substantive topics outlined above. For the final four weeks of the semester, the course will meet for eight 120 minutes sessions during which students will present preliminary drafts of their research papers. A list of potential research topics are listed at the back of this syllabus. Students will be asked to choose amongst these research topics or suggest their own topics subject to Professor Jackson’s approval. In most cases, students will be encouraged to work on their research papers in pairs, although again individual assignments are possible with permission of the instructor. Course grades will be based on research papers and class participation. There will be no examination for the course.


Readings for the course will consist of a combination of distributed materials, postings on the course iSite, and readings from FISCAL CHALLENGES: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO BUDGET POLICY (2008) (Elizabeth Garrett, et al. eds.), and ALLEN SCHICK: THE FEDERAL BUDGET: POLITICS, POLICY AND PROCESS (3rd ed. 2007). Both books are recommended for the course and should be available at the Harvard Coop. Copies should also be on reserve for the course in Langdell Library. Additional readings are available via the H2O distribution system, which is linked to the course iSite under Course materials. From time to time, students will also be asked to review selections from the Harvard Law School Briefing Papers on Federal Budget Policy (avail. at http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/hjackson/budget.php). These briefing papers are primarily the work of HLS students enrolled in earlier version of this course, and are illustrative of the kinds of research papers that students in this year’s course will be expected to produce.

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  1. 3 Show/Hide More Part I. Introduction to Federal Budget Process and Policy
    Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson

    For our first few classes, we will introduce the topic of the federal budget, exploring a recent controversy over FEMA spending, looking into the basic components of the current federal budget, and reviewing the historical evolution of federal budgeting.


    As you read through these materials, consider how you would distinguish a good budget process from a bad one. What functions to you think a budget process should serve? What is the role of legal requirements in shaping budgeting for the government? To what extent should legal requirements constrain current political imperatives?

    1. 3.1 Show/Hide More Class One -- Thursday, January 30th
      Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
      For our initial class, please review the materials on FEMA Recoupment and then look over the CBO Update from May 2013. You should also skim the version of the U.S. Constitution, which has been edited town to highlight the provisions related to fiscal policy.
      1. 3.1.1 Show/Hide More Dispute Over FEMA Recoupment
        Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
        Read over materials on FEMA Recoupment . What was Senator Pryor upset with FEMA's practices with respect to the recoupment of overpayments? What does the Office of Inspector General conclude in its report? Should agencies like FEMA have more latitude to forgive debts?
    2. 3.2 Show/Hide More Class Two -- Friday, January 31st
      Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
      This class is an introduction to the evolution of budgeting in the United States. The principal reading is from Chapter Two of Allen Schick, The Federal Budget: Politics, Policy, Process (3rd ed., 2007), but you should also read over several contemporaneous treatments of budget policy in the post-World War II era, emphasizing the evolution from traditional budgeting circa 1964 (described in the excerpt from Aaron Widavsky's classic work) through the Seven-Year Budget War that followed (chronicled in the Allen Schick excerpt and epitomized by Train v. City of New York, 420 U.S. 35 (1975)). You need only skim the excerpts from the 1958 Congressional Digest.
      1. 3.2.5 Show/Hide More Federal Budget Policy (January 2016)
        Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson

        Federal Budget Policy

        Professor Howell E. Jackson

        Harvard Law School

        Winter 2016

        Class Meeting Times:

        M-F, 9:30 am to 11:45 am 

        Room: Wasserstein B010

        Office Hours: Fridays, 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm (or by appointment)

        Contact Information:

        Howell E. Jackson (hjackson@law.harvard.edu),Griswold 510

        Assistant: Carole Mason (camason@law.harvard.edu),Griswold 5 South

        Introduction

                  

                    The goal of this course is to introduce students to the law and practice of budgeting in the United States. At the beginning of the semester, students will be introduced to the basic structure of the federal budget process, including the President's Budget and congressional budgeting procedures that are supposed to govern federal spending. We will explore the roles of all three branches of federal government in setting budget policy in the United States, discussing government shut-downs, debt ceiling crises, and ongoing debates over budget reforms and fiscal challenges. We will then examine the budgeting of entitlements and infrastructure spending, plus state budgeting practices as well as federal-state relations in budget policy. One class will focus on military spending.

        Students interested in writing a research paper on budget policy can sign up for an additional credit in the Spring term. For these students, the course will continue for four to six two-hour sessions. In addition to covering additional topics, these sessions will include several meetings at which students will present and receive comments on drafts of their research papers. Research paper topics will be arranged with permission of the instructor and can address a wide range of issues related to budget policy, focusing on issues of current interest, including proposals for reforming budget policy. Students interested in writing more extensive papers on related topics for additional credit are welcome to do so.     

        Readings for the course will consist of a combination of distributed materials, postings on the course's Canvas website, via the H2O link, and readings from Fiscal Challenges: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Budget Policy (2008) (Elizabeth Garrett, et al. eds.), and Allen Schick: The Federal Budget: Politics, Policy and Process (3rd ed. 2007). Both books are recommended for the course and should be available at the Harvard Coop. Copies should also be on reserve for the course in Langdell Library. From time to time, students will also be asked to review selections from the Harvard Law School Briefing Papers on Federal Budget Policy (avail. at http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/hjackson/budget.php). These briefing papers are primarily the work of HLS students enrolled in earlier versions of this course, and are illustrative of the kinds of research papers that students participating in the Spring term extension of the course will be expected to produce.

        An interactive document titled 2015 Federal Budget Calendar is posted to H20 and offers extensive links to press accounts about budget matters in the past year.


         

        1. 3.2.5.1 Show/Hide More Preliminary List of Federal Budget Policy Research Topics for Spring 2016
          Historical Topics * The Growth of Executive Budgeting: From the BOB to the OMB Topics Involving Issues of Current Interest * The Law of Gift Accounts and Revolving Accounts * The Meaning of Regular Order and its Application * The Scope of and Case for Grand Bargains * Guaranteeing Social Security Retirement Benefits: Funding Levels & Legal Protections * Social Security Disability Fund Status and Restoration Proposals * Student Loan Forgiveness: Current Practices and Legal Limits * Litigation over DC Spending Reforms * The Impact of Presidential Budget Recommendations on Spending Outcomes * Democracy Deficits in Federal Budget Procedures Updates on Prior Briefing Papers * Update on Earmarks * Update on Debt Ceiling Practices: Accelerated Preparations * Update on Government Shutdowns: The Law and the Workarounds
        2. 3.2.5.4 Show/Hide More Part I. Introduction to Federal Budget Process and Policy
          Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
          For our first few classes, we will introduce the topic of the federal budget, exploring a recent controversy over FEMA spending, looking into the basic components of the current federal budget, and reviewing the historical evolution of federal budgeting. Our emphasis initially will be on congressional budget procedures, which will be the centerpiece of classes two through five.
          As you read through these materials, consider how you would distinguish a good budget process from a bad one. What functions to you think a budget process should serve? What is the role of legal requirements in shaping budgeting for the government? To what extent should legal requirements constrain current political imperatives?
          1. 3.2.5.4.1 Show/Hide More Class One -- Monday, January 4th, 2016
            Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson

            We will begin our first class with a discussion of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget's “Stabilize the Debt” exercise, an interactive game in which players try to make policy choices that will get the debt below 60 percent of GDP by 2024. Before you start the exercise, read over the Summary and Chapter 1 of the Congressional Budget Office's 2015 Update to get a quick overview of the major elements of the federal budget. Please do the CFRB's exercise yourself; print out your solution, and be ready to discuss and defend your plan in class.

            As further core reading for our initial class, please review the materials on FEMA Recoupment from Hurricane Sandy and then look over the CBO Update from August 2015, focusing on the Summary.

            You should also skim the version of the U.S. Constitution, which has been edited town to highlight the provisions related to fiscal policy.

            Then please read Chapter 2 of Allen Schick's “The Federal Budget” as an introduction to the evolution of the budgeting process from the founding to the present.

            Background readings (optional for most students, though one member of each team with a written assignment for each class should read each item): Excerpts from Aaron Widavsky's 1964 classic, “The Politics of the Budget Process,” are included for reference as an illustration of the budget process prior to the 1970s. Additionally, a recent student briefing paper, ““The History of the Congressional Appropriations Process, 1789-2014,” is included for reference.

            1. 3.2.5.4.1.4 Show/Hide More Dispute Over FEMA Sandy Recoupment
              Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
              Read over materials on FEMA Recoupment. Why are members of Congress from New York and New Jersey upset with FEMA's practices with respect to the recoupment of overpayments? Should agencies like FEMA have more latitude to forgive debts? We will be revisiting this topic at the beginning of the second week of class when we discuss the Department of Education's ability to forgive student loan debt.
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          1. 3.2.5.5.1 Show/Hide More Class Two -- Tuesday, January 5th, 2016
            Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson

            This class is an introduction to the modern budget process that began with the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act. The “Seven Year Budget War” between Presidents Johnson and Nixon and Congress culminated in the watershed 1974 statute that introduced the present-day budget process. The first reading, excerpts from Allen Schick's “Seven Year Budget Wars,” chronicles the battles between the executive and legislative branches that led to the 1974 Budget Act. The second reading, Train v. City of New York, 420 U.S. 35 (1975), addresses the legality of President Nixon's decision to “impound” certain spending. Finally, please read Chapter One of “Fiscal Challenges,” “The Congressional Budget Process” by William Dauster, as an overview of the aftermath of the 1974 Budget Act and the modern-day budget calendar.

            Team Assignment (Teams B, F & J): Please write a short (3-5 page) memorandum describing how the 1974 Budget Act addresses the problems underlying the Seven Year Budget Wars.

            Background readings: Chapters 5 and 6 of Schick's “The Federal Budget” are assigned for further details on the roles of the President and Congress in modern budgeting . Copies of the book are available in the Cop and on reserve in Langdell Library. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning budget think tank, also puts out an excellent “Policy Basics” overview of the annual budget process, which is available below.

            1. 3.2.5.5.1.2 Show/Hide More Allen Schick, Seven Year Budget Wars (1980)
              Please read the highlighted sections: pp. 43-49 “President vs. Congress” on Nixon impoundment” and pp. 71-81 on “Principles of Budget Reform” in 1974 Budget Act.
          2. 3.2.5.5.2 Show/Hide More Class Three -- Wednesday, January 6, 2016
            Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson

            In today’s class, we will continue our discussion of the evolution of congressional procedures since 1974. As part of our discussion, we will focus our attention on the The Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, which is explored in Kate Stith, Our Fiscal Constitution, 76 Cal. L. Rev. 593 (1988), and also the subject of the Supreme Court's Decision in Bowshar v. Synar, 478 U.S. 714 (1986). As you review these materials, consider how you would evaluate the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act as a matter of public policy. Why did the Supreme Court find aspects of the legislation to be unconstitutional?

            One of the principal innovations of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act was a process known as sequestration. As recounted in the Dews & McConnell briefing paper on Sequestration and the Budget Control Act of 2011, this procedure has been adapted over time and remains a part of modern budget practice.

            Team Assignment (Teams C, G, I & K): Please write a short (3-5 page) memorandum comparing the 2011 Budget Act sequestration procedures with those originally in the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act. How would you evaluate the changes?

            For background reading, the Baron and McCaffrey chapter from Fiscal Challenges attempts to test the theoretical underpinnings of the “Starve the Beast” strategy that is sometimes said to underlying measures like Gramm-Rudman-Hollings. Fiscal Challenges is available in the Coop and on reserve in Langdell Library. How compelling is the strategy as well as the Baron/McCaffrey assessment?

          3. 3.2.5.5.3 Show/Hide More Class Four -- Thursday, January 7th, 2016
            Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson

            In today's class, we will first turn our attention to the economics of federal deficits and debt, as well as their measurement. For an introduction to the subject, read pages 141-155 of Fiscal Challenges: Chapter Five: Michael J. Boskin, Economic Perspectives on Federal Deficits and Debt, which describes different ways that policymakers project future deficits and debt.

            We will then turn to a recent paper by David Kamin that discusses different normative approaches in setting a budget “baseline”; please read the highlighted sections that discuss the purposes of budget baselines, and the different types of budget baselines. (For additional background on issue of dynamic scoring versus static scoring, see the D’Amico Briefing Paper on the topic included as background readings for today’s class.)

            Individual Assignment: For Today’s class, please write a short memorandum (2-3 pages) assessing the merits of Professor Kamin’s proposal with respect to budgetary baselines. Would you endorse his recommendation?

            For a practical application of baseline projections, please review Part 1 of the CBO's 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook. What does the CBO believe the budget will look like in 50 years, and what types of assumptions must it make to reach these projections?

            As background readings – in addition to the briefing paper on dynamic versus static scoring mentioned above — we have included several documents highlighting the complexities of longer-term budget projections. Scan the CBO's 10-year budget projection in 1998, which predicted surpluses through the 2000s. How did intervening geopolitical, legislative, and economic developments undermine the CBO's predictions for future surpluses? Part 7 of the CBO's 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook discusses the assumptions that the Office must make today in order to project spending and revenue out to 2040. (Part 7 can be accessed through the link to Part I of the report, assigned above as part of today's core readings.)

            1. 3.2.5.5.3.3 Show/Hide More Congressional Budget Office, 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook, Part 2 (June 2015)
              Congressional Budget Office, 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook, Part 2: “The Long-Term Outlook for Major Federal Health Care Programs (June 2015)
          4. 3.2.5.5.4 Show/Hide More Class Five -- Friday, January 8th, 2016
            Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson

            In today's class, we will continue our discussion of Congressional budgeting procedures, focusing on various techniques that have been introduced over the years to facilitate budgeting in the face of political constraints.

            Please read the student briefing papers on the budget reconciliation process and the use of continuing resolutions. Then choose one of the other two briefing papers to read – either on the use of earmarks or the use of appropriations riders.

            Team Assignment: (Teams A, D, E & H) Write a short (3-5 page) memorandum explaining which, if any, of the reform proposals discussed in the background readings you would endorse based on our discussions over the past week.

            For background, we’ve included two papers on budget reform proposals, one from the Heritage Foundation and a second from the Committee for a Responsible Budget.

        3. 3.2.5.6 Show/Hide More Part III. Presidential Spending Powers
          Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
          In Part III of the course we take up Presidential Spending Powers and consider the extent to which the Executive has authority to influence spending decisions in a variety of contexts.
          1. 3.2.5.6.1 Show/Hide More Class Six -- Monday, January 11, 2016
            Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson

            In today's class, we will begin our discussion of presidential spending powers by discussing a debate between Professors Stith and Sidak over the power of the purse. (The Boland Amendment, which figures heavily into the Stith and Sidak debate, is an example of an appropriations rider, a topic explored in a briefing paper assigned as optional reading for Class Five and a legislative tool of continuing significance.)
            In today's class, we will also dig into the specific example of executive spending during government shutdowns, as explored in Puja Seam & Brad Shron, “Government Shutdowns” (May 4, 2005) (Briefing Paper No. 10) – please read pages 18-37 and 40-44.

            Team Assignment: (Teams A, E & I): Please write a short (3-5 page) memorandum evaluating the relative merits of Professor Stith’s and Professor Sidak’s arguments.

            For reference, as an overview of the mechanics of Executive powers, see Schick, The Federal Budget: Chapter Ten: Managing Federal Expenditures, which we will take up in further depth during Tuesday's class.

          2. 3.2.5.6.2 Show/Hide More Class Seven -- Tuesday, January 12, 2016
            Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson

            Today's class will focus primarily on the student loan exercise. Start by reading the exercise itself and then work through background materials included in the student debt exercise playlist. Please read the background materials for this problem carefully. All students enrolled in the course should submit a 1000 word reaction paper on this exercise by 8:00 am of the morning of January 12th. In preparation for working on this reaction paper, you should read the briefing paper on federal credit programs.

            Additional background materials on accounting presentations are also included, but these are optional and will be discussed later in the course in any event. You do not need to read these materials in order to complete the student loan exercise.

            1. 3.2.5.6.2.1 Show/Hide More Student Loan Exercise
              Student Loan Exercise
          3. 3.2.5.6.3 Show/Hide More Class Eight-- Wednesday, January 13, 2016
            Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson

            In today's class, we will continue our discussion of Presidential spending powers, sIn today's class, we will continue our discussion of Presidential spending powers, starting first with the topic of line item vetos, which came before the Supreme Court in Clinton v. City of New York 524 U.S. 417 (1998). We will then review the topic of reprogramming, which was touched upon in Chapter Ten of Schick, The Federal Budget, and is explored in more detail in Takeshi Fujitani & Jared Shirck, “Executive Spending Powers: The Capacity to Reprogram, Rescind, and Impound” (May 3, 2005) (Briefing Paper No. 8).

            Team Assignment (Teams BFJ): Please write a short (3-5 page) memorandum assessing whether the practices for reprogramming comport with the constitutional standards articulated in the Clinton v. City of New York decision as well as other separation-of-powers cases we’ve encountered in this course.

            tarting first with the topic of line item vetos, which came before the Supreme Court in Clinton v. City of New York 524 U.S. 417 (1998). We will then review the topic of reprogramming, which was touched upon in Chapter Ten of Schick, The Federal Budget, and is explored in more detail in Takeshi Fujitani & Jared Shirck, “Executive Spending Powers: The Capacity to Reprogram, Rescind, and Impound” (May 3, 2005) (Briefing Paper No. 8).

            For additional background on Executive spending powers, see two additional briefing papers included as reference for today's class. Focus especial on the first of these papers.

            1. 3.2.5.6.3.3 Show/Hide More Briefing Papers for Reference for Jan. 13, 2016

              Stacy Anderson & Blake Roberts, “Capacity To Commit in the Absence of Legislation: Takings, Winstar, FTCA, & the Court of Claims”(May 2005) (Briefing Paper No. 12) (http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/hjackson/CapacitytoCommitt_12.pdf)

              Bob Allen & Sarah Miller, “The Constitutionality of Executive Spending Powers” (May 10, 2008) (Briefing Paper No. 38) (http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/hjackson/ConstitutionalityOfExecutive_38.pdf)

          4. 3.2.5.6.4 Show/Hide More Class Nine-- Thursday, January 14, 2016
            Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson

            Today we will take up debt ceiling, starting first with Michael W. McConnell, The Origins of the Fiscal Constitution & Howell E. Jackson, The 2011 Debt Ceiling Crisis Revisited, from Is U.S. Government Debt Different (2012). You should also read over pages 18-62 of Jeremy Kreisberg & Kelley O'Mara, The 2011 Debt Limit Impasse: Treasury's Actions & The Counterfactual – What Might have Happened if the National Debt Hit the Satutory Limit (September 4, 2012) (Briefing Paper No. 41).

            Team Assignment (Teams CGK): Please write a short (3-5 page) memorandum assessing whether the next Secretary of the Treasury should invest effort in a contingency plan to prioritize federal expenditures in a more rational manner should another debt ceiling crisis occur during the next presidential administration. Assuming the Department were to develop such a contingency plan, what system of prioritization should plan follow?

            A student briefing paper on the “Gold Clause Cases” and their implications for government borrowing today is also included as background reading.

          1. 3.2.5.7.1 Show/Hide More Class Ten -- January 15, 2016 new
            Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson

            Today we consider the role of the judiciary in the budgetary process.

            We will first discuss the ability of courts to intervene in the budgetary process, including the threshold question of which parties have standing to challenge budget decisions, and the role of the “political question” doctrine. A student briefing paper on the role of the standing and political question doctrines in budget jurisprudence is included as reference.

            Then, we will consider the courts' authority to direct the budget decisions of state and local governments. Please read the selection from Missouri v. Jenkins (1990) (“Jenkins II”). As part of the process of court-ordered desegregation of the Kansas City, Missouri school system, a federal district court in Missouri ordered a local tax increase in order to fund the costs of desegregation. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held that the district court could not raise taxes directly, but court order to local government to do so; Justice Kennedy authored a fervent dissent that claimed that the majority's decision violated federalism and separation-of-powers principles. The desegregation saga in Kansas City went on: Five years later, the Supreme Court heard a challenge to a federal district court's order, which had directed the State of Missouri to raise teacher salaries and fund remedial programs as part of the same desegregation process (“Jenkins III”). Another 5-4 decision resulted, but this time, the Court held that courts do not have the authority to order such spending increases. The text Jenkins III is included below as background.

            Team Assignment (Teams DH): Please write a short memorandum (3-5 pages) considering whether the Supreme Court’s decision in the two Missouri v. Jenkins cases are consistent or inconsistent.

            Finally, we will discuss recent litigation regarding the budget of the District of Columbia. Congress still has oversight over Washington, DC's local budget, but in a 2012 referendum, DC voters overwhelmingly approved a “budget autonomy” law. Please read the brief materials on the DC litigation below; the district court's decision explains the history of Congress' oversight of the DC budget and the District's efforts to increase local control of budget decisions.

            1. 3.2.5.7.1.2 Show/Hide More Missouri v. Jenkins, 495 U.S. 33 (1990) (Jenkins II), edited for Federal Budget Policy
              Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson
              Missouri v. Jenkins, 495 U.S. 33 (1990) (Jenkins II)
          1. 3.2.5.8.1 Show/Hide More Class Eight -- Thursday, January 12, 2017
            Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson

            We will focus in today’s class on budget issues related to defense and national security. Please read the “War Budgeting Strategies” briefing paper, which contrasts budgeting strategies for the first Gulf War to budgeting during the early years of military interventions into Afghanistan and Iraq in the early 2000s. We will then turn to a paper focusing on more recent DoD issues, focusing on the “two tiered” defense budget (normal appropriations and “Overseas Contingency Operations” budget). The final reading for today’s class, which can be considered background, focuses on financial management at the DOD.

            Team Written Assignments (Teams DH): Please write a short memorandum (three to five pages) assessing how well defense budgeting over the past twenty years have balanced the need for political controls over defense spending with the needs of the military to have stable funding sources and flexibility to address national emergencies.

            1. 3.2.5.8.1.4 Show/Hide More Reform Proposals from the Majority Staff of the House Budget Committee (2016)
              Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson
              This folder contains a series of short policy papers put together by the staff of the House Budget Committee in 2016.  They include a number of reform proposals.
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          1. 3.2.5.9.1 Show/Hide More Class Twelve -- January 20, 2016
            Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson

            In today’s class, we will explore inter-governmental interactions in budgeting. The two principal readings are chapters from Fiscal Challenges offering institutional perspectives on the subject. Please also read the briefing paper on NFIB v. Sebelius, which deals with conditional spending. For background, several related briefing papers are including discussing the Unfunded Mandates Act and State and Municipal Bankruptcies, a topic alluded to in the Wallis & Weingast chapter.

            Team Assignment: (Teams G, H & I): The primary readings for this class offer different visions of optimal (or at least possible) fiscal relationships across different levels of government. Which, if any, of these visions do you find compelling and why?

        4. 3.2.5.10 Show/Hide More Part VII. Entitlement Reform and Government Accounting Revisited
          Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
          In this section of the course we will take up entitlement reform and the closely related topic of government accounting.
          1. 3.2.5.10.1 Show/Hide More Class Thirteen -- January 21, 2016
            Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson

            With today's class, we will turn our attention to entitlement reform and related topics. We will begin our discussion with two Supreme Court cases involving Social Security. The first upholding the program's constitutionality and the second dealing with Congress's authority to make benefit changes (and whether taxpayers acquire a property interest in their future Social Security benefits).

            We will then discuss briefly Chapter 13 of Fiscal Challenges, in which John Harrison explores New Property, Entrenchment and the Fiscal Constitution.

            Next, please take a look at the eight-page portion of the CBO's Long Term Budget Outlook that addresses the long-term future of Social Security. Also, take a look at the CRFB's one-page primer on the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, an important and sometimes-overlooked part of the Social Security program.

            Finally, please review the CFRB's Social Security “Reformer” website and devise your own solution to problems facing Social Security: http://crfb.org/socialsecurityreformer/.

            Team Assignment (Teams B, D,F & J): Please write a short memorandum (3-5 pages), presenting and defending a joint team plan to reform Social Security. The plan should have unanimous approval of group members.

          2. 3.2.5.10.2 Show/Hide More Class Fourteen -- January 22, 2016
            Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson

            Today, we will discuss reform of federal health programs, focusing on Medicare.

            For an overview of federal health programs, please read Part 2 of the CBO's 2015 Long-Term Outlook, “The Long-Term Outlook for Major Federal Health Care Programs.”

            Then, please read the briefing paper on “bending the health care cost curve” and prepare to discuss the pros and cons of various reform ideas.

            Finally, please review the press clippings about the 2015 legislation that ended the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), a mechanism to control Medicare payments to doctors that had been in place since 1997 (but waived on an annual basis via a “Doc Fix” bill). Notice that the CRFB and Wall Street Journal editorial page, both typically hawkish on budgeting issues, come out on opposite sides of the issue.

            For reference, the 2015 Medicare Trustees Report and a briefing paper on entitlement reform in foreign countries are included.

            Third Individual Response Paper: Drawing on course readings and class discussions over the past three weeks, please write a short (3-5) page memorandum summarizing your views on the appropriate goals for and reasonable expectations with respect to federal budget policy in the United States. How should our public budgeting decisions be structured to serve the public interest? To the extent that you believe certain aspects of the current system should be reformed, please explain how and why? Please submit your response to Carole Mason by email by 8:00 am on the morning of January 22nd. Good luck.

            1. 3.2.5.10.2.1 Show/Hide More Congressional Budget Office, 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook, Part 2 (June 2015)
              Congressional Budget Office, 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook, Part 2: “The Long-Term Outlook for Major Federal Health Care Programs (June 2015)
    1. 4.1 Show/Hide More Class Three -- Thursday, February 6th
      Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
      In this class, we will begin our discussion of Congressional budgeting procedures. For an overview of the subject, please read Chapter One of Fiscal Challenges: William, Dauster, The Congressional Budget Process. As part of our discussion, we will focus our attention on the The Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, which is explored in Kate Stith, Our Fiscal Constitution, 76 Cal. L. Rev. 593 (1988), and also the subject of the Supreme Court's Decision in Bowshar v. Synar, 478 U.S. 714 (1986). As you review these materials, consider how you would evaluate the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act as a matter of public policy. Why did the Supreme Court find aspects of the legislation to be unconstitutional?
    2. 4.2 Show/Hide More Class Four -- Friday, February 7th
      Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
      In today's class, we will turn our attention to the economics of federal deficits and debt. For an introduction to the subject, read over Fiscal Challenges: Chapter Five: Michael J. Boskin, Economic Perspectives on Federal Deficits and Debt, and then review Schick, The Federal Budget: Chapter Three, The Budget's Shifting Boundaries; Chapter Four, Budgetary Arithmetic. Please also review one of the allocated briefing papers for today's class.
    3. 4.3 Show/Hide More Class Five/Six -- Thursday-Friday, February 13th-14th
      Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
      Note: The materials originally assigned for Thursday's class were actually discussed over the course of both Thursday and Friday.
    4. 4.4 Show/Hide More Class Seven -- Thursday, February 20th
      Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
      Today we will conclude our discussion of Congressional budget procedures and take up the “Starve the Beast” strategy explored in Fiscal Challenges: Chapter Seven: Jonathan Baron & Edward McCaffery, Starving the Beast. You should also look over the allocated briefing papers, as assigned.
      1. 4.4.1 Show/Hide More Allocated Briefing Papers for Thursday, February 20th
        Our primary focus in this class will be on the Starve the Beast Chapter, but you should also look over the allocated briefing papers, as assigned.
    1. 5.1 Show/Hide More Class Eight -- Friday, February 21st
      Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
      In today's class, we will turn out attention to Presidential Spending Powers. For an overview of the mechanics of Executive powers, see Schick, The Federal Budget: Chapter Ten: Managing Federal Expenditures. In class we will focus our attention of a debate between Professors Stith and Sidak over the power of the purse. We will also dig into the specific example of executive spending during government shutdowns, as explored in Puja Seam & Brad Shron, “Government Shutdowns” (May 4, 2005) (Briefing Paper No. 10), which all class participants should read.
    2. 5.2 Show/Hide More Class Nine -- Thursday, February 27th
      Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
      In today's class, we will continue our discussion of Presidential spending powers, starting first with the topic of line item vetos, which came before the Supreme Court in Clinton v. City of New York 524 U.S. 417 (1998). We will then review the topic of reprogramming, which was touched upon in Chapter Ten of Schick, The Federal Budget, and is explored in more detail in Takeshi Fujitani & Jared Shirck, “Executive Spending Powers: The Capacity to Reprogram, Rescind, and Impound” (May 3, 2005) (Briefing Paper No. 8). Additional perspectives on Executive spending powers are presented in the allocated briefing papers for today's class.
    3. 5.3 Show/Hide More Class Ten-- Friday, February 28th
      Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
      Today we will take up debt ceiling, starting first with Michael W. McConnell, The Origins of the Fiscal Constitution & Howell E. Jackson, The 2011 Debt Ceiling Crisis Revisited, from Is U.S. Government Debt Different (2012). You should also read over Jeremy Kreisberg & Kelley O'Mara, The 2011 Debt Limit Impasse: Treasury's Actions & The Counterfactual – What Might have Happened if the National Debt Hit the Satutory Limit (September 4, 2012) (Briefing Paper No. 41)
  2. 6 Show/Hide More Part IV. Judicial Power of the Purse
    Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
    Content to come.
    1. 6.1 Show/Hide More Classes Eleven and Twelve -- March 6th and 7th
      Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
      In the course of these two classes, we will explore the judicial power of the purse. Our primary focus in this classes will be on a series of Supreme Court cases involving litigation against or on behalf of the government. In each case, we will explore the manner in which the Court approached monetary claims involving the government. Several briefing papers related to judicial powers in this area are also allocated to members of the seminar.
  3. 7 Show/Hide More Part V. Entitlement Reform and Government Accounting
    Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
    In this section of the course we will take up entitlement reform and the closely related topic of government accounting.
    1. 7.1 Show/Hide More Class Thirteen -- March 13, 2014
      Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
      With today's class, we will turn our attention to entitlement reform and related topics. We will begin our discussion with two Supreme Court cases involving Social Security. The first upholding the program's constitutionality and the second dealing with Congress's authority to make benefit changes. We will then discuss Chapter 13 of Fiscal Challenges, in which John Harrison explores New Property, Entrenchment and the Fiscal Constitution. If time permits, we may also delve into a September 2013 CBO report on long-term budget projections.
    2. 7.2 Show/Hide More Class Fourteen -- March 28, 2014
      Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
      In today's class we turn our attention to accounting issues, with an emphasis on the accounting treatment of entitlement programs. As an introduction to this subject, please read over Chapter Six from Fiscal Challenges: Counting the Ways: The Structure of Federal Spending. This chapter makes reference to the Financial Report of the United States. After you have read the chapter, take a look at the the FY2013 Financial Report and consider how the government's positions with respect to major entitlement programs have evolved over the past few years. (Make sure you look at the Statements of Social Insurance, starting on page 47, and accompanying notes. Entitlement programs are also addressed in the introductory materials and Management's Discussion and Analysis.) Also included in today's assignment are two briefing papers: one on accrual accounting and the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 and a second on the 1967 President's Commission on Budget Concept. Based on your own interests, you should choose one of these briefing papers to read before class.
    1. 8.1 Show/Hide More Class Fifteen -- Thursday, April 3rd
      Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
      In addition to carryover materials from last Friday's class, we will be discussing two chapters from Fiscal Challenges in class on Thursday, April 3rd: Chapter Eleven, John Wallis and Barry Weingast, Dysfunctional or Optimal Institutions? & Chapter Twelve, David Super, Federal-State Budgetary Interactions. Please also review Briefing Paper 7 on Unfunded Mandates.
    2. 8.2 Show/Hide More Class Sixteen -- Friday, April 4th
      Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
      Our focus in today's class will be on conditional spending. Please begin by reviewing either Daniel Klaff & Adam Lawton, Conditional Spending and Other Forms of Federal Cost Sharing (Updated March 2008) (Briefing Paper No. 18) or Allison Quick, Legal Limits on Conditional Spending Including Recent Challenges to No Child Left Behind (May 2, 2006) (Briefing Paper No. 19). We will then discuss South Dakota v. Dole, 483 U.S. 203 (1987), which the Quick paper discusses, and then the Supreme Court's more recent decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 132 S.Ct. 2566 (2012). In the Sebelius decision, please your attention on the portions of the opinion dealing with conditional spending (as opposed to the sections involving the Commerce Clause or taxing powers or the Anti-Injunctions Act). Note: If you click on the “Show/Hide” button, and select “Hide All Unlayered,” the H20 program should display only the sections of the decision relevant to our discussions.
    3. 8.3 Show/Hide More Class Seventeen -- Thursday, April 10th
      Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
      In today's class, we will be discussing budgeting at the state level. Please review Fiscal Challenges: Chapter Eight, Juliet Musso et al., Budgetary Arrangements in the 50 States & Chapter Fourteen, Richard Briffault, Courts, Constitutions and Public Finance.
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January 08, 2015

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Howell E. Jackson

James S. Reid, Jr. Professor of Law

Harvard University

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