Paul L. Posner is director of the public-administration program at George Mason University and a former president of the American Society for Public Administration.
He served for many years with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, where he was managing director for federal budget and intergovernmental relations, leading GAO's work on the long-term federal budget outlook and emerging challenges for public-sector finances at all levels of government.
Posner is the author of "The Politics of Unfunded Mandates," which was published in 1998 by Georgetown University Press and was the winner of the 2008 Martha Derthick Best Book Award given by the Section on Federalism and Intergovernmental Management of the American Political Science Association. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.
A quick scan at the policy agenda facing federal and state officials shows a number of problems that threaten to balloon in future decades. For each of these problems, policy changes are inevitable -- the question is not whether, but when and how.