USC Budgetary Rationality and Incrementalism Discussion

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In his seminal book, Politics of the Budgetary Process, political scientist Aaron Wildavsky criticized the call for “comprehensive rationality” in the budget process. Wildavsky’s research demonstrated that, despite calls for building a budget from the “ground up,” the federal budget was created incrementally, with little change in the base and adjustments on the margin. He argued that incremental budgeting is virtually unavoidable due to cognitive limitations and value conflict. This in turn makes it difficult to address large and increasing deficits, and contributes to political conflict that delays timely passage of the federal budget.

By Day 4, discuss the tensions between budgetary rationality and incrementalism in a post of approximately 250 words. Explicitly referencing the instructional media and readings, describe the factors that inhibit rationality in the budgetary process. Is incrementalism in budgeting to be expected and/or desired? How can one promote more rational budgetary planning in the face of partisan conflict and institutional constraints? two videos and article about the discussion:

By Day 7, respond to at least two student posts




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