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date: 14 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the evolution of the fiscal constitution in the United States. It begins with an overview of the role played by fiscal realities in the American Revolution, collapse of governance under the Articles of Confederation, and design of the U.S. Constitution. It then turns to Albert Gallatin, a Swiss immigrant who established the outlines of America’s fiscal constitution, and the U.S. presidents' expansion of budgetary influence through the presidential veto. It also considers the rise of new monetary and tax policies during the Civil War; non-contributory social insurance and its implications for congressional control of spending; and fiscal issues that shaped the new Constitution and contributed to the demise of the traditional restrictions on the use of debt, unprecedented budget deficits, and revived calls for a constitutional amendment requiring balanced budgets. Finally, it discusses central banking that sparked a seminal debate over the constitutional power of Congress.

Keywords: fiscal constitution, Constitution, presidential veto, tax policies, social insurance, debt, budget deficits, constitutional amendment, central banking, Congress

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