Knowledge of Budgeting in Government

Public budgeting leader in the public sector

An effective public budgeting leader focuses on achieving particular goals and meeting certain groups’ needs. To be an effective leader and manager in the public sector, it is essential to be able to set clear goals, as well as develop plans to achieve the objectives established. It is also important to prioritize and have leadership skills (Holzer and Schwester 320). The public budgeting leader should be able to manage, organize, encourage, and inspire employees.

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At that, one of the most important skills to have is associated with the ability to communicate and collaborate. One of the most serious issues any government (the US government is no exception) faces is the lack of collaboration among different agencies (Capretta). Therefore, the effective leader should be able to develop proper relationships with other stakeholders and focus on the benefits for the US society rather than specific priorities or goals.

Finally, it is also important to focus on the sustainability of public administration, which is becoming a norm in the public sector (Bartle and Leuenberger 3). Sustainability is the focus on short- and long-term benefits for the society (as well as the environment). It is quite common that public administrators advocate the needs of certain groups while ignoring the needs of others. This is unacceptable for modern American society. The effective public budgeting leader should take into account different groups’ needs and their implications for nature, the community, the US society, and even humanity. This kind of responsibility should become the major priority or rather a standard for contemporary public administrators.

Can budgetary decision-making be rational?

The process of decision-making in the public sector can be rational. The development of the US government resulted in the adoption of a performance management approach (Van Dooren et al. 53). Performance management ensures the focus on efficiency and implementation. It is possible to state that three pillars of this strategy include the establishment of goals, progress management, and results reporting. Importantly, the use of this approach has enabled agencies to collaborate more effectively as each institution or organization sets goals and clear plans to achieve them. The plans include specific paths to collaborate with other agencies and stakeholders. This clarity is instrumental in achieving major goals within the public sector.

One of the latest reforms in budgeting took place in the 2000s (Bouckaert and Halligan 90). The primary focus of the reform was the improvement of public services that were to be “responsive to needs and preferences of individuals and communities” (qt. in Bouckaert and Halligan 89). American society is becoming more diverse as compared to the 20th century, which brings new challenges to the fore. Budgets (that are shrinking due to certain financial constraints and increasing needs of the population) should be allocated wisely so that as many stakeholders as possible could benefit from policies and programs developed and introduced.

The reform provided new frameworks to achieve these goals. Therefore, it is possible to note that decision making can be rational as rationality is the central priority of the modern US government. The public sector is not confined to addressing some major social problems but focuses on particular issues existing in different spheres of people’s lives, which leads to improvements in people’s wellbeing.

The line-item objective of expenditure budget structure

The American budgetary structure was developed in the 1970s (Uhlmann 280). The 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act is regarded as the most influential reform that led to the creation of the budgetary structure that is still used by the US government. The Act imposed certain restrictions that ensured the allocation of particular funds crafted by Congress. The act limited the US President’s power to change the federal budget (Capretta). The unwillingness of President Nixon’s administration to collaborate with the Congress-led to the enactment of the Act.

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The structure has been criticized quite heavily by scholars and politicians (Uhlmann 280). First, this approach is associated with ineffective collaboration between the Administration and the Congress. The two camps focus on their priorities and are reluctant to compromise or even negotiate effectively (Capretta). The lack of collaboration leads to quite significant delays and, most importantly, to ineffective budgeting as some programs receive funds that cannot be used within the fiscal year while others have funds insufficient to achieve even the most basic goals and objectives. The existing approach is regarded as quite ineffective. Scholars and politicians agree that the system needs changes that would take into account the peculiarities of modern American society.

Nevertheless, the budgetary structure is still widely used, and no alternative has been developed. One of the major reasons for this acceptance is an important goal the structure achieves. It contributes to the maintenance of the balance of powers, which is a pillar of democracy. If one branch will make all the major decisions, many violations are likely to occur. The budgetary structure is instrumental in ensuring the discussion of the needs of different groups within the US population of the USA.

Works Cited

Bartle, John R., and Deniz Leuenberger. Sustainable Development for Public Administration. Routledge, 2014.

Bouckaert, Geert, and John Halligan. “Comparing Performance Across Public Sectors.” Performance Information in the Public Sector: How It Is Used, edited by Wouter Van Dooren and Steven Van de Walle, Springer, 2016, pp. 72-94.

Capretta, James C. “Reforming the Budget Process.” National Affairs, vol. 21, 2014. Web.

Holzer, Marc, and Richard Wilmot Schwester. Public Administration: An Introduction. Routledge, 2014.

Uhlmann, Michael M. “A Note on Administrative Agencies.” The Heritage Guide to the Constitution: Fully Revised Second Edition, edited by David F. Forte and Matthew Spalding, Regnery Publishing, 2014, pp. 277-281.

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Van Dooren, Wouter, et al. Performance Management in the Public Sector. Routledge, 2015.

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