Class One -- Monday, January 4th, 2016 | Howell E. Jackson | August 19, 2015


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Class One -- Monday, January 4th, 2016

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

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.


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December 30, 2015

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Howell E. Jackson

James S. Reid, Jr. Professor of Law

Harvard University

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