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What We Aim To Do

 

With the help of many others, we want to transform the process used by the federal government to develop and enact budgets. We believe the current process is so broken, and the context has changed so dramatically since the last major overhaul, that only a fresh rethinking of the way the government budgets will bring about the kinds of changes needed.

A project to reform the nation’s budget institutions and procedures must draw proper lessons from U.S. experience and that of others – good and bad. 

Budgeting deploys today’s public resources as required to carry out strategies and policies promising to increase the nation’s ability to survive inevitable social and fiscal shocks and to take most advantage of expected and unexpected opportunities to thrive, grow, and fulfill the dreams of its citizens. Developing greater government capacity to plan and choose wisely will be a long process – requiring new analytical capacities and ways of thinking; new decision structures capable of applying that analysis; and changes in institutions, culture, and how leaders, administrators, and the public approach the essential task of constructing and enacting the federal budget. 

Reforming the way we budget is just one aspect of a broader project to strengthen the U.S. government’s capacities to deal with future challenges. Success in reforming the way budgets are constructed and executed depends on whether these and other reforms address deeper problems weakening democratic governance and thereby our ability to cope with the full range of challenges the nation faces. Ultimately, the two sets of political problems must be addressed as one.

Our members represent a wide range of experiences and ideological preferences, ranging from academic institutions, think tanks with right and left leanings, as well as well-respected, nonpartisan governmental institutions such as the Congressional Budget Office and Government Accountability Office. The specific reform proposals suggested by the research on the site are not necessarily endorsed by the group as a whole, but can instead be viewed as 'ideas worth considering' as we move towards reforming the federal budget process.