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The Office of Management and Budget and the Presidency, 1921-1979

The Office of Management and Budget and the Presidency, 1921-1979

Larry Berman
Copyright Date: 1979
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    The Office of Management and Budget and the Presidency, 1921-1979
    Book Description:

    In the first comprehensive study of the Office of Management and Budget Larry Berman traces its evolution from a once impartial and objective presidential staff agency to The Office of Meddling and Bumbling (TOMB), as it was known by the end of the Nixon administration. In doing so he analyzes both its established role and the subsequent changes in this role as different presidents attempted to respond to a variety of external demands.

    Originally published in 1979.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6728-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. ONE A Treasury Bureau or Presidential Staff Agency? 1921-1938
    (pp. 3-15)

    Prior to 1921, federal agencies submitted uncoordinated financial requests directly to the Secretary of the Treasury, where they were packaged with little alteration into a Book of Estimates and forwarded to Congress. The President played only a limited role in formulating the national budget.

    By the end of the 19th century, however, federal government expenditures had been increasing rapidly, with twenty-eight years of uninterrupted budget surpluses suddenly followed by six years of deficits between 1904-1910. “It was a foregone conclusion,” Louis Fisher noted, “that debt management problems after the war would require modernization of the budget process and an increased...

  5. TWO The Development of an Institutional Bureau of the Budget, 1939-1952
    (pp. 16-47)

    How did Harold Smith establish his BOB as the institutional fulcrum within the EOP? How did the Bureau of the Budget in 1939 with a new location and increased appropriation make itself useful to the President? Smith began on May 18, 1939 by notifying all Bureau personnel that he was “anxious to give thought and attention to any matters which may be concerned with our organization and its work. Especially do I think this important in view of possible new or increased responsibilities in connection with the general reorganization plans.”¹ He suggested that each member of the staff “dictate any...

  6. THREE Rigidification of a Staff Agency, 1953-1960
    (pp. 48-66)

    Few political observers could be certain what would happen to the Budget Bureau when President Eisenhower assumed office in January 1953. As the first Republican President to be elected in twenty-one years, Eisenhower confronted a Budget Bureau that since its transfer to the EOP in 1939 had served only Democratic Presidents. Many of the Bureau’s top career staff had been recruited twenty years earlier by Harold Smith. Could these civil servants respond to Eisenhower’s interests? Would there be a wholesale purge of partisans? BOB official Elmer Staats recalled that, “this was a crucial period in the history of the BOB....

  7. FOUR Responding to Activist Presidential Leadership: The Bureau of the Budget That Could Never Be, 1961-1969
    (pp. 67-104)

    During the 1960 transition, President-elect Kennedy’s advisors recommended re-activating the Budget Bureau as the primary program planning unit in the EOP. Richard Neustadt (another former BOB staffer under James Webb) recommended that Kennedy’s broad legislative goals required a Budget Director “soaked in substance . . . a broad gauged policy advisor, not an accountant. . . . The reason why your man ought to be program-minded, not a cost accountant, is that national or presidential needs may call on him to urge you to say ‘yes.’ . . . Your man should have sensitivity to the requirements and limits of...

  8. FIVE The Office of Management and Budget: A Change Rather than Progress, 1970-1979
    (pp. 105-125)

    During the 1968 presidential transition, President-elect Nixon established a fifteen-person transition task force chaired by Frank Lindsay, President of ITEK Corporation of Lexington, Massachusetts. The Lindsay Task Force recommended that “the President-elect give first priority to organizing more effectively the White House-Executive Office as the best way to improve the operations of the entire Executive Branch.”¹ Nixon was advised to renew the recently expired Reorganization Act and to establish an Advisory Committee to study the organization of the Executive Branch. On March 27, 1969 Congress renewed the President’s reorganization authority and on April 5, 1969 Nixon established the Advisory Council...

  9. SIX The Future of the Office of Management and Budget: An Institutional Dilemma
    (pp. 126-130)

    By utilizing OMB as a partisan agent in the Executive Branch, President Nixon impaired OMB’s vital contribution to the presidency and raised several questions on what role this staff unit should play in the federal system. As Hugh Heclo observed, the “changing norms and relationships [in OMB] call into question the possibility of preserving the institution as a source of impartial continuity for the presidency.”¹ While 89 percent of OMB professionals surveyed believed their institution still maintained a “favorable” reputation with the President, only 29 percent believed OMB maintained a favorable reputation with the Departments and agencies, and only 19...

  10. APPENDIX ONE List of Directors Office of Management and Budget
    (pp. 133-134)
  11. APPENDIX TWO Organization Charts of BOB/OMB
    (pp. 135-142)
    (pp. 143-152)
    (pp. 153-174)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 175-180)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 181-181)