The collapse of the federal budget process and the decline in trust in government threaten the stability of the self-governing republic that we inherited from our nation’s founders. Informed by their moral and political philosophy, we suggest an approach to reforming the budget process aimed at reclaiming that institutional trust. We argue that budget process reform must be animated by two related ideas: First, that post-constitutional statutory law must be impartial, and second, that both citizens and their elected representatives have a right to participate in, and to influence, the political process.
With record spending and deficits come calls for reform. Entrenched political problems, however, make spending reform easier said than done. Independent commissions are often suggested as a way to tackle intractable political problems, but not all congressionally created commissions are the same.
Jerry Brito is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center and directs the Technology Policy Program. His primary research interests are technology and telecommunications policy, government transparency and accountability, and the regulatory process.
Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Her primary research interests include the federal budget, homeland security, taxation, tax competition, and financial privacy issues.
Jerry Ellig is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. His primary research interests include the federal regulatory process, economic regulation, and telecommunications regulation.
Maurice McTigue is vice president for outreach at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He is director of the Mercatus Center's Government Accountability Project and a member of its Spending and Budget Initiative and State and Local Policy Project.
Eileen Norcross is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Her primary research interests include fiscal federalism and institutions, state and local governments, and economic development.