So my radical proposal has two parts. First, our federal, state, and local governments should publish their annual budgets online in a form that any high-school graduate can understand. Second, our public high schools should be required to teach students how to read government budgets.The rest of the post is interesting food for thought as is the research agenda by Besley and Persson (pdf) on which Myerson bases his proposal.
I know that this may sound impractically idealistic. But I can recommend at least one good textbook: Dall Forsythe’s Memos to the Governor. Written by a former budget director of New York state, this short book offers a good introduction to the standard tricks that have been used to make public spending more obscure.
So this is my radical proposal: Before demanding lower taxes or lower deficits, we voters should demand to be better informed about our public financial system. Then our ability to demand better use of public funds can become a stronger pillar for future growth and prosperity.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
On The Power of Clarity
Over the holiday, Roger Myerson posted an interesting proposal at the Cheap Talk blog: