Honest Numbers And Democracy

Honest Numbers And Democracy

by Walter Williams
     
 

In Honest Numbers and Democracy, Walter Williams offers a revealing history of policy analysis in the federal government and a scorching critique of what’s wrong with social policy analysis today. Williams, a policy insider who witnessed the birth of domestic policy analysis during the Johnson administration, contends that the increasingly partisan U.S

Overview

In Honest Numbers and Democracy, Walter Williams offers a revealing history of policy analysis in the federal government and a scorching critique of what’s wrong with social policy analysis today. Williams, a policy insider who witnessed the birth of domestic policy analysis during the Johnson administration, contends that the increasingly partisan U.S. political environment is vitiating both "honest numbers" — the data used to direct public policy — and, more importantly, honest analysts, particularly in the White House.

Drawing heavily on candid off-the-record interviews with political executives, career civil servants, elected officials and Washington-based journalists, Williams documents the steady deformation of social policy analysis under the pressure of ideological politics waged by both the executive and legislative branches. Beginning with the Reagan era and continuing into Clinton’s tenure, Williams focuses on the presidents’ growing penchant to misuse and hide numbers provided by their own analysts to assist in major policy decisions.

Honest Numbers and Democracy is the first book to examine in-depth the impact of the electronic revolution, its information overload, and rampant public distrust of the federal government's data on the practice of policy analysis.

A hard-hitting account of the factors threatening the credibility of the policymaking process, this book will be required reading for policy professionals, presidential watchers, and anyone interested in the future of U.S. democracy.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Echoing James Madison's sentiment that: "A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy," Williams (Trust in Government project, U. of Washington) jettisoned his original role of "objective" scientist to conduct off-the-record interviews with key Washington players in order to illuminate the credibility of policy-relevant data. Topics include: the market for expert information and analysis, the Golden Age of executive branch policy analysis, governing and campaigning, and the future of policy analysis. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780878406845
Publisher:
Georgetown University Press
Publication date:
04/01/1998
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
312
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

John L. Palmer

Presents a compelling, historically grounded, case for ‘honest numbers’ and a well-informed perspective on their future.

From the Publisher

"[Williams] presents a compelling, historically grounded, case for 'honest numbers' and a well-informed perspective on their future." -- John L. Palmer, The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

Meet the Author

Walter Williams is professor emeritus at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington and a frequent contributor to the editorial pages of newspapers across the country.

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