Programming-Planning-Budgeting

AuthorEdward R. Padgett
Publication Date01 September 1971
DOI10.1177/002085237103700304
SubjectArticles
Programming-Planning-Budgeting :
Some
Reflections
upon
the
American
Experience
with
PPBS
UDC
336.121.22
(73)
by
Edward
R.
PADGETT,
PhD.,
Professor
of
Political
Science,
Director-Graduate
Study
in
Public
Administration,
University
of
Cincinnati,
Ohio
One
of
the
most
significant
developments
in
the
budgetary
process
of
the
United
States
in
recent
years
has
been
that
of
the
introduc-
tion
of
and
the
application
of
program-
planning-budgeting
systems
(PPBS)
at
all
levels
of
government.
The
purpose
of
this
article
is
that
of
evaluating
the
impact
of
and
influence
of
this
budgetary
approach
upon
the
policy
process.
PPBS
is,
of
course,
the
application
of
systems
analysis
to
budgeting.
Traditional
budgetary
procedures
have
been
based
upon
the
line-item
or
administrative
budget
concepts
with
efficiency
and
account-
ability
as
major
goals.
In
recent
decades,
performance
budgeting
has
been
used
to
attempt
to
measure
actual
performance
of
governmental
functions
rather
than
mere
delineation
of
item
or
activity
costs
(1).
Federal
budgeting
in
America
has
added
to
the
tra-
ditional
administrative
budget
the
concepts
of
cash-consolidated
and
national
income
ac-
counts
budgets
followed
by
the
recent
use
of
a
so-called
full-employment
budget
(2).
The
new
unified
system
still
exists
side-by-side
with
the
line-item
accounting
system.
Bud-
geting
is,
on
balance,
a
problem
of
the
alloca-
tion
of
scarce
resources
amongst
almost
limit-
less
demands.
Long
ago,
one
of
America’s
most
distin-
guished
political
scientists,
V.O.
Key,
asked
the
essential
but
unanswerable
question
-
&dquo; Why
spend
X$
for
A
instead
of
B ? &dquo;
(3).
Professor
Key
found
that
economic
concepts
such
as
marginal
utility
were
of
limited
use
in
public
budgeting
and
that
the
allocation
of
resources
as
a
utilization
of
public
funds
resolved
itself
into
a.
matter
of
value
prefer-
ences
lacking
a
common
denominator
(4).
The
literature
of
budgeting
has
until
recently
been
mostly
descriptive
and,
in
the
view
of
one
of
its
most
able
critics,
arid
(5).
The
bud-
getary
process
in
the
United
States in
a
sys-
tematic
context
is
of
rather
recent
origin,
starting
with
the
Budget
and
Accounting
Act
of
1921,
and
followed
by
the
Reorganization
Act
of
1939.
As
Charles
Hitch
noted
in
testimony
before
Congress,
in
prior
periods
of
American
history,
budgeting
had
been
a
highly
decentralized
process
which
served
as
a
means
for
the
control
of
expenditures
(6).
While
there
has
been
serious
discussion
as
to
whether
or
not
PPBS
is
really
new
or
simply
builds
upon
the
work
of
the
past,
its
basic
origin
is,
in
part,
the
work
of
the
Rand
Cor-
poration
and
especially
that
of
Charles
Hitch
and
Roland
McKean
whose
volume
The
Economics
of
Defense
in
The
Nuclear
Age
(1)
Arthur
Smithies,
" Conceptual
Framework
For
The
Program
Budget
",
in
David
Novak
(ed.),
Program
Budgeting
(New
York :
Holt,
Rinehart,
and
Winston,
1969),
second
edition,
pp.
26-27.
(2)
Tax
Foundation
Inc.,
The
New
Federal
Budget
Concept:
An
Explanation
and
Evaluation
(New
York :
Government
Finance
Brief
No.
14,
August
1968),
pp.
1-3.
See
also,
David
J.
&
Attiat
F.
Ott,
Federal
Budget
Policy
(Washington :
Brookings
Institution,
1965),
especially
chapter
2.
(3)
V.O.
Key,
" The
Lack
of
A
Budgetary
Thory
",
American
Political
Science
Review
(Vol.
XXXIV,
December
1940),
p.
1138.
(4)
Ibid.,
p.
1143.
(5)
Aaron
Wildavsky,
"
Political
Implications
of
Budgetary
Reform ",
Public
Administration
Review
(Autumn
1961),
Vol.
XXI,
No. 4,
pp.
183-190.
(6)
U.S.
Senate,
Committee
on
Government
Opera-
tions,
Organizing
For
National
Security:
Inquiry
of
the
Subcommittee
en
National
Policy
Machinery
(Wash-
ington :
Government
Printing
Office,
1961),
Vol.
1,
p.
1005.

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