The role of the federal government and its perceived ineffectiveness are topics of hot debate in Washington and throughout the U.S., particularly as the 2014 mid-term elections approach.
On Friday, October 31, the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy co-hosted an event featuring two experts on this topic, and their new books. In We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money (Oxford University Press, Oct 2014), Edward Kleinbard reframes U.S. budget debates and finds that short-sighted decisions to starve government can be ultimately detrimental to citizens’ happiness, health, and wealth. In Why Government Fails So Often: And How It Can Do Better (Princeton University Press, March 2014), Peter Schuck considers why the federal government is in disrepute and argues that Washington’s failures are not due to episodic problems or partisan bickering, but to structural flaws that undermine every administration.
Richard Reeves of Brookings’ Center on Children and Families moderated a conversation between Mr. Kleinbard and Mr. Schuck, considering what the United States’ recent budget choices say about our values, the role of reform in improving the federal government’s efficacy, and other related issues.