Wildavsky asserts bluntly the central role of budgeting in the understanding of politics. Budgets tell us how the most basic decisions are made, who benefits from them, and on what values political activity is predicated. Since Wildavsky wrote, financial mechanisms have assumed even greater practical and symbolic importance because of the impact of monetarism and the rise of the new Right. But even before this, as we saw in chapter 7, budgets occupied an important function in demand management and in the conduct of economic policy. In Italy, the failure of successive governments to control the budget deficit thus reflects multiple failures of values, of institutional competence, of political authority and of distributional policy.