The Local Government Reckoning Has Not Been Delayed

Joel Kotkin calls for a truce between public sector workers and local governments. The recovery hasn’t been strong enough to allow state and local governments to sustain the rising burden of pension and health benefits without putting enormous pressure on other core local government functions, like public safety and K-12 education. So either public sector workers have to restrain some of their wage and benefit demands, at least in the short term, or they must risk driving local governments to bankruptcy. Kotkin references the fact that a number of state governments have been devolving a number of responsibilities to cash-strapped local governments. And as Daniel DiSalvo has explained in a report for the Manhattan Institute, there has been a structural decline in retail sales tax revenues, due to a shift from goods to services and from physical to online retail, as well as in revenue from taxes on gasoline, alcohol, and tobacco. One way or another, local governments are going to have to go through some kind of serious restructuring. 

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

Most Popular

Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More