The U.S. budget process lies at the core of U.S. political dysfunction because it provides too many points of entry for the logic of collective action. It cannot be changed fundamentally, but it can be reformed at the margins.
President Obama is frustrated by gridlock and partisanship, and is seeking to use executive authority to rescue something of a legacy from his second term. His unilateralism will in no way make things better, however—quite the opposite.
Volume two of the project I started writing in 2011, titled Political Order in Changing Societies, hits bookstores later this month. It is an attempt to map out how modern states have evolved out of patrimonial ones, and tries to show how simplistic understandings of how development works can lead to disastrous policy.