THE BUDGET: The Distended Pouch

British Chancellors of the Exchequer used to enter the House of Commons carrying their estimates in a pouch called a bougette. When the tradition of annual forecasts of total revenues and expenditures was established in England about 200 years ago, the Chancellor's report was called a budget. Ever since then, government finance officers have been trying (sometimes with success) to hold budgets in balance. The U.S. Government, a comparative newcomer to the process, did not adopt the budget system until 1921. Since then, it has been able to strike a balance less...

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