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.
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.
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