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Dead Men Ruling: The Decline of Fiscal Democracy in America

C. Eugene Steuerle

Published: January 04, 2013
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On January 3, 2013, the 113th session of the U.S. Congress opened with a fiscal cliff averted, but a country still stuck in a less-recognized fiscal bind.

In the first video of a three-part series, Urban Institute Fellow Eugene Steuerle, a former deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for tax analysis and cofounder of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, explores one of the major reasons recent Congresses have been so dysfunctional: all, or almost all, the revenue to be collected by the Treasury Department was spent before lawmakers walked in the door.

Steuerle further discusses how spending and tax subsidy programs on autopilot, along with a tax system inadequate to pay our bills and rife with gaping holes, handicap lawmakers' and the public's ability to set new goals for solving today's and tomorrow's problems.