Coercive deficiency is a phrase that originated in study of the executive branch of the American federal government, where it described the process by which budget holders could allow themselves to run out of money prior to the end of a fiscal period, on the assumption that Congress would then feel morally obligated to supply the missing funding in order to prevent cessation of services or breach of contracts.
The first attempt to control for coercive deficiency requests to Congress was the Anti-Deficiency Act of 1870, which prevented agencies from obligating more funds than had been appropriated by Congress. Historians have documented examples of coercive deficiencies at the U.S. Post Office in 1879 and 1947 and at the Defense Department.
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