From Publishers Weekly
Okay: this is beach reading only if you're a policy wonk. But that doesn't mean the average voter won't find it an informative, even accessible, book that goes to the heart of the current talk about block grants, unfunded mandates, the deficit and more. After a whirlwind overview of American federalism, Peterson offers two theories of the fiscal relationships between national and local governments. Functional theory posits that different levels of government are best suited to different kinds of funding: for the national government, that's redistributive programs (e.g., welfare, SSI), which it can apply evenly across the country; developmental programs (e.g., roads, buildings) are best left to local governments, which respond more efficiently to local needs. The cynical legislative theory suggests the opposite: the national government (read congressmen) will prefer to legislate popular development projects for constituents (aka pork) while leaving unpopular redistributive projects to the states. Peterson argues that if legislative theory best explains federalism from 1957 to 1977, functional theory is increasingly the norm now and should continue to be. On the one hand, pork is losing popularity, as functional theory says is best. Contrary to the theory's prescriptions, however, is the idea of giving states control over redistributive programs, which, Peterson says, will result in every state trying to cut welfare in order to discourage an influx of the poor. Yes, there are charts, but that's no excuse to shy away from this valuable look at the bottom line of domestic politics. $20,000 ad/promo.
Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"An informative, even accessible, book that goes to the heart of the current talk about block grants, unfunded mandates, the deficit and more.... [A] valuable look at the bottom line of domestic politics" Publishers Weekly