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Government Finances and Citizen Responsibility

Alfred Parker
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 379, Financing Democracy (Sep., 1968), pp. 123-131
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1036831
Page Count: 9
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Government Finances and Citizen Responsibility
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Abstract

In our political system of representative government, ultimate responsibility for government finances rests with the people. In exercising this responsibility the citizen faces problems of performance, control, and, particularly, choice of programs. Gradually, over the past century, he has evolved organized ways to exercise these functions. But the Depression of the 1930's and World War II released many new forces and created new situations which tend to baffle the citizen in the exercise of his responsibility. These new problems arise from the shift in power and influence from state and local governments to the federal government. They include complexity and centralization, the weakening of state and local governments, and the emergence of new forces such as the "new economics," collective bargaining with public employees, and a general blunting of the traditional yardstick of measuring expenditures against taxes to be paid. These problems have severe implications for the role of the citizen in the future. More and more, he needs help to understand the issues. This help can be supplied by citizen organizations. But even more, he needs to be stimulated to an active interest in government problems, that now loom so large and threaten to frustrate his ability to cope with them.

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