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Paradox, Ambiguity, and Enigma: The Strange Case of the Executive Budget and the United States Constitution

Naomi Caiden
Public Administration Review
Vol. 47, No. 1, The American Constitution and the Administrative State (Jan. - Feb., 1987), pp. 84-92
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Society for Public Administration
DOI: 10.2307/975475
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/975475
Page Count: 9
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Paradox, Ambiguity, and Enigma: The Strange Case of the Executive Budget and the United States Constitution
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Abstract

The executive budget, drawn from European experience, was a keystone in the Progressive agenda of governmental reform at the beginning of the twentieth century. The original proposal, implying a virtual executive monopoly of the budget, appeared as a paradox in the United States constitutional context of separation of powers. A modified version, accepted in 1921, which retained legislative initiative in appropriations, however, became an accepted and integral element of the sharing of power between executive and legislative branches. Its legitimacy was justified by values of neutral competence, executive leadership, and responsibility in government. In recent years the ambiguities of the concept have come to the surface, and though the executive budget exists in form, its meaning and significance are open to question.

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