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Presidential Leadership and the Reform of Fiscal Policy: Learning from Reagan's Role in TRA 86

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  • Robert P. Inman
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    Abstract

    The institutions of federal fiscal-policy making seem incapable of confronting the central domestic issues of the day. This paper presents a model of congressional decision-making in which legislators' incentives are contrary to fiscal efficiency. In such an environment, a "strong" president may be able to lead congress away from inefficient budgets. The paper specifies a model of what constitutes a strong president, namely a president with resources to build congressional coalitions and a credible veto to force "all-or-nothing" choices between reform and the inefficient status quo. President Reagan's role in the passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 is detailed in the light of this model; the analysis reveals the role of executive resources and the importance of the veto strategy to major fiscal reform.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4395.

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    Date of creation: Jul 1993
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4395

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    1. Carter, John R & Schap, David, 1990. "Line-Item Veto: Where Is Thy Sting?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 103-18, Spring.
    2. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
    3. Pechman, Joseph A, 1987. "Tax Reform: Theory and Practice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 11-28, Summer.
    4. Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
    5. Gale, W.G. & scholz, J.K., 1992. "IRAS and Household Saving," Papers 9244, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
    6. Lawrence H. Goulder & Philippe Thalmann, 1990. "Approaches to Efficient Capital Taxation: Leveling the Playing Field vs.Living by the Golden Rule," NBER Working Papers 3559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1984. "Capture and Ideology in the Economic Theory of Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 279-300, June.
    8. Philipson, Tomas J & Snyder, James M, Jr, 1996. " Equilibrium and Efficiency in an Organized Vote Market," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 89(3-4), pages 245-65, December.
    9. Metcalf, G.E., 1991. "The Role Of Federal Taxation In The Supply Of Municipal Bonds: Evidence From Municipal Governments," Papers 72, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - John M. Olin Program.
    10. Bergstrom, Theodore C. & Roberts, Judith A. & Rubinfeld, Daniel L. & Shapiro, Perry, 1988. "A test for efficiency in the supply of public education," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 289-307, April.
    11. Matthews, Steven A, 1989. "Veto Threats: Rhetoric in a Bargaining Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 347-69, May.
    12. Feldstein, Martin & Friedman, Bernard, 1977. "Tax subsidies, the rational demand for insurance and the health care crisis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 155-178, April.
    13. Ted Bergstrom & Judy Roberts & Dan Rubinfeld & Perry Shapiro, 1988. "A Test for Efficiency in the Supply of Local Public Education," Papers _036, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
    14. Weitzman, Martin L., 1974. "Free access vs private ownership as alternative systems for managing common property," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 225-234, June.
    15. Auerbach, Alan J., 1992. "Taxes and Spending in the Age of Deficits: A View from Washington and Academe," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 45(3), pages 239-42, September.
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