The Politics of Budgetary Surplus

  • ScottĀ Brenton

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Scott Brenton
    Pages 1-29
  3. Scott Brenton
    Pages 31-59
  4. Scott Brenton
    Pages 61-93
  5. Scott Brenton
    Pages 95-119
  6. Scott Brenton
    Pages 121-151
  7. Scott Brenton
    Pages 153-183
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 185-198

About this book


This book probes the hollow rhetoric of debt, deficits and austerity. It explores the decisions of parties of the left which have attempted to deflect criticisms of economic mismanagement and gain trust by depoliticising the budget process and financial management with various rules, albeit with elements of discretion. The book argues that this is a perverse form of trust as it is premised on the belief that political leaders and the public sector cannot be trusted to make appropriate decisions given the economic circumstances of the time and need rules, but at the same time that they can be trusted to follow the rules. The book also explores parties of the right, which often advocate stricter rules and which tend to be the least effective. The book describes how few conservative governments have admirable records on sustained surpluses, given a propensity for unsustainable tax cuts, and the future opportunities this provides to advance a political program of deeper spending cuts.                                                                                              
Scott Brenton is a political scientist in the Melbourne School of Government at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He has previously worked at the Australian parliament and held teaching and visiting appointments at Australian, British and Scandinavian universities. He has published widely on issues of democratic accountability.                                           


Austerity Fiscal policy Fiscal rules Public policy Economic reform budget economics governance ideology management politics public administration public management reform

Authors and affiliations

  • ScottĀ Brenton
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MelbourneAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Economics and Finance
  • Print ISBN 978-1-137-58596-7
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-58597-4
  • Buy this book on publisher's site