As state and local governments celebrate the latest federal stimulus package, I’m struck by what I heard recently from Uri Monson, CFO of the Philadelphia School District: “The hardest thing to do in government,” Uri told me, “is to deal with one-time money and not waste it.”
In the 1990s, political scientist Robert Putnam documented a worrisome trend: Fewer Americans were members of groups that formed the very fabric of American life, such as unions, PTAs and even bowling leagues. As the bonds connecting us eroded, he argued, the foundations of democracy were under threat.
“The more you allow localities to control their destiny, the better they do.” That’s Mike Pagano, quoted in Neil Kleiman’s new paper, Remaking Federalism: How States Can Realign and Rebuild a Stronger and Healthier Union.
“Just as we come out of our holes and see what 25 percent unemployment looks like, we may also see what collective rage looks like.” That line, from Laurie Garrett, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health and The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases…
“If we can do a bit better tomorrow, we will be doing much, much better than we have ever done before.” That’s the last sentence in Why We’re Polarized, Ezra Klein’s clear-eyed analysis of the political situation in America today.