[(Classics in the Theory of Public Finance )] [Author: by Richard A. Musgrave, Alan T. Peacock (eds.)

By Richard A. Musgrave, Alan T. Peacock (eds.)

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Extra resources for [(Classics in the Theory of Public Finance )] [Author: Richard A. Musgrave] [Jun-1994]

Sample text

Administratively, however, the problem is solved as follows: the fmance minister examines the statements of estimated expenditure presented by all the ministries, including his own, in the light of his own estimate of the revenue and the extreme limit to which he can go in an attempt to meet the demands of the various ministries, bearing in mind the necessity ofobtaining at least a formal balance; but the formal balance, from its very nature ofbeing a balance obtained by means of incurring debts, can only be transitory.

On these assumptions, the determination of the point of equilibrium between the satisfactions procured by the expenditure and the sacrifice caused by the exaction of the necessary funds, requires nothing but a prudent weighing of needs against funds. This operation concerns solely the number of items of expenditure to be included amongst those to which preference is given. Once this number has been established, three consequences follow: 1) Combinations with a greater number of items arc excluded, because the satisfactions they procure do not compensate for the sacrifices involved; 2) combinations with a smaller number of items are included, because they have a margin for the satisfaction of further needs; 3) the choice amongst the various possible combinations of the established number of items of expenditure, must be based on criteria which do not follow from our assumptions.

If the ministries are used to meeting energetic opposition, whether from the ftnance minister or from Parliament, they are more inclined to keep within the limits set by previous statements, and they exercise a more rigorous selection amongst the various services that are to be satisfied. ), and between ordinary and extraordinary expenditure. When an expenditure is declared irrevocable by Parliament, or is constitutionally so (arts. 19 and 31 of the Italian Constitution), it is thereby automatically removed from the sphere of what is debatable, unless the government is to be brought down.

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