This fourth edition of James A. Maxwell's classic and widely acclaimed book will help both layman and lawmaker understand the choices open to their governments. It provides a lucid, nontechnical analysis of state and local finance. It gives concise descriptions of the taxes, grants, debt issues, and user charges that finance state and local government and discusses their relative virtues and drawbacks. It traces the history of state and local finance and presents statistical data on expenditures, federal aid, revenue from taxes and user charges, debt, and pension funds. The new edition, in recognition of changes since the mid-1970s, also includes a separate chapter on financing education and broadened analyses of federal grant programs, employee retirement systems, and nonguaranteed municipal debt.
J. Richard Aronson is William L. Clayton Professor of Economics and director of the Fairchild-Martindale Center for the Study of Private Enterprise at Lehigh University, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
John L. Hilley worked in the White House as senior adviser and head of legislative affairs to President Bill Clinton from February 1996 to January 1998. In this role, he oversaw and participated in the negotiation of all major legislation. Before moving to the White House, Hilley served as chief counsel for Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, chief of staff for Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, and majority staff director for Senate Budget Committee Chairman Jim Sasser. In the private sector, he has served as executive vice president of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and as chairman and CEO of NASDAQ International. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University.
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Yet decisions on social security cannot be avoided. If analysts cannot agree, policymakers are likely to increase the weight they attach to perceptions of equity, adequacy of benefits, fairness of taxes, and similar qualitative considerations. Hence it is desirable for lay observers to understand the framework that analysts use and the reasons why there is so much uncertainty.
This book sheds light on social security issues by examining evidence from economic studies about how the system affects saving, labor supply, and income distribution. It shows that these studies provide little evidence to support or refute assertions that social security has reduced saving, but they do indicate that it has contributed to the trend toward early retirement. The author finds that the aged are now about as well off on the average as the general population and that social security has played a considerable role in bringing about this equality.
This volume is the sixteenth in the second serioes of Brookings Studies of Government Finance.