Sunday, November 13, 2011

Zero-Based Budgeting

At the debate last night, Governor Perry proposed zero-based budgeting for foreign aid. The broader idea has been around for a long time. On August 8, 1981, UPI reported:
A prize concept pioneered by the Carter administration -- ''zero based budgeting'' -- has been awarded its own zero by the Reagan administration.

In a formal order, budget director David Stockman rescinded the technique throughout government Friday. It was an inauspicious end to an accounting innovation heralded as an antidote to government waste and poor planning.

The system, introduced in 1978, was supposed to make departments build their spending requests from nothing -- justifying entire categories of expenditures, not just the yearly increases.

Instead, Stockman said, ''The technique had proved cumbersome in some respects and had not achieved significant results in holding down federal government spending.''