24 March 2018

The failure of self government.

Pick any area of public life and the evidence of the failure of self government abounds. AntiFa street thuggery, university suppression of free speech, pointless foreign wars justified by blatant lies, black criminality and academic failure, open borders. Take your pick. Everywhere you see government failing to do its job and citizen indifference.

For me, the blatant dishonesty and manipulation of the Supreme Court in enabling the complete destruction of the scheme of decentralized government is Exhibit A. The Court destroyed that wonderful scheme and this betrayal slipped into the history books like the name of the last winners in the Superbowl. No big deal.

Steve Malanga figures that local finance is cooked. I’m the one talking about the implications for self government:

Over the last decade, the Nutmeg State’s Medicaid program, including federal spending, has nearly doubled in size, to $3.7 billion, a compound annual growth rate of more than 7 percent; the state’s general-fund revenues have expanded by just 1.7 percent annually in that time. With a poverty rate under 10 percent, Connecticut enrolls more than one-fifth of its residents in Medicaid.

Exploding Medicaid costs are being felt in many other states. In its early days in the mid-1970s, Nevada’s Medicaid program covered about 23,000 poor residents. Today, 638,000 Nevadans get insurance through the program; officials had underestimated by more than 130,000 the number of residents who would apply for the subsidy once the state expanded it under the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid costs twice as much in Nevada as it did ten years ago, and the state’s contribution of tax dollars has swollen by more than two-thirds over that time period. . . .

* * * *

An immense pension crisis also looms over local governments. . . .[1]

The likelihood of state and local governments making needed reforms is zero. Once conferred, government benefits cannot be reduced or eliminated. This will play out to the bitter end.

Notes
[1] "States of Siege. The worst recovery in decades has changed the way local governments tax and spend." By Steven Malanga, City Journal, Winter 2018.

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