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The One Political Institution Surviving the Trust Implosion
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  • Jim__L

    “This finding lends further credence to Yuval Levin’s argument in The Fractured Republic that it would be productive for American government to move toward a greater level of subsidiarity.”

    **[Stands up and cheers]**

    Fight polarization — embrace Federalism!

    • Nevis07

      As has been said before by many including myself, transfer policy and fiscal power back to the states. The Federal government’s one-size fits all policies are overbearing and should be restricted to only the basic services a government should be expected to perform.

  • Beauceron

    Who the heck are the 42% of people that trust “political leaders”?
    I mean, if that includes local I suppose I could get it– although my local political leader is Bill DeBlasio, for whom I have absolutely no trust.
    If they are talking about national political leaders I am flabbergasted at how high that number is.

    • Andrew Allison

      If you consider the utterly misplaced confidence in school boards, the answer is not hard to find.

  • LarryD

    In short, return to the original design philosophy, instead of the ever encroaching, centralized state.

    One way or another, I expect we’ll get there, it’s just if will be an orderly change, or a crash and collapse of the big dinosaur.

    • ljgude

      About sums it up. It is hard to imagine orderly change, these days, but that would be preferable.

  • vepxistqaosani

    Interestingly, there are fewer and fewer Democrats elected to state and local positions, especially since 2008. Perhaps there’s a connection.

  • Andrew Allison

    The confidence in local government will decline rapidly as the shift from providing municipal services to paying pensions accelerates. For example, last March the third largest city in California (San Jose) had just 839 street-ready police officers for a population of over a million.

    • LarryD

      It would be interesting to see the breakdown along municipality size. Large cities are as impersonally (and badly) governed as the Federal government, I speculate that most of the trust is in the smaller towns. It might be useful to know if I’m right, and what the curve vs population size looks like.

      A number of cities are already bankrupt. I think we can all agree that the experiment with government-sector unions has proven even worse than Roosevelt’s warning.

      • FriendlyGoat

        I think you are correct in suspecting that small cities and small school districts produce higher approval ratings for their local governments than big ones do. The simple reason for this is most likely that more people actually know their officials.

      • Andrew Allison

        You may well be right, but it’s irrelevant. The large town and county governments will bankrupt the States in which the smaller towns are located.

  • Anthony

    This latent reverence for “local government” brings to mind motivations (just speculation) that may use subsidiarity’s value to further other ends than inclusive democratic governance perhaps. To that end, Roger Peterson implies “how the resentment of the privileged (relatively measuring) can change politics” – suddenly a clamoring for state/local responsibility, as if it ever disappeared.

    Resentment as a catalyst: “dominance is sought by shaping the nature of the state (local/regional) rather than through violence – …role of resentment is a feeling of injustice on the part of a privileged portion of society when it sees power slipping into hands of a group that hadn’t previously held it so may utilize electoral means to exact a perceived balance (control).” That is, the resentment is simply channeled into another way of clinging to power (state/local mechanisms). and preventing another group from attaining it.” (Roger Peterson, Understanding Ethnic Violence)

  • seattleoutcast

    I think the trust will diminish as more municipalities admit the debt that they are in. For 30 years, it has been cheaper to refinance bonds than to pay them off because interest rates have declined. Now, as we’ve hit rock bottom, interest rates will increase. This means cities will be paying back the principle on civil projects that date all the way back to the 80s.

    In the words of a city accountant from a well-run, small, midwestern city: “I have no idea what we owe.”

  • Frank Natoli

    This is good. A loss of trust, even a catastrophic loss of trust, necessarily implies that the public FINALLY understands that these institutions have been up to no good for a long, long time. It isn’t the institutions that have changed [for the worse]. It’s the public that has wised up.

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