Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Jon Chait at his absolute best

Jon Chait has an excellent article on small government.  One excellent excerpt:
Cutting down excessive licensing rules, not to mention other incarnations of Big Small Government, would require overruling the prerogatives of state and local governments—governments with absolutely no interest in reducing their power voluntarily. The paradoxical reality is that ending the most abusive practices of American government requires moving responsibility up the local-state-federal chain, which is the opposite of ingrained conservative impulses. And when national right-wing organizations do plunge into local politics, they generally attempt to replicate Washington-style conservatism. Rather than attack nefarious exercises of state power, they attack the most benign ones. A recent Center for American Progress report sums up incursions by the Koch network into state and local controversies: It is hard at work blocking tiny tax increases, preventing infrastructure maintenance, and shuttering zoos and community centers. Big Small Government is spared its ideological assault.
I think it is well know that Jon Chait and I are on the opposite side of the education reform debate.  But he is at his best when talking about the functions of government.  I think this issue is a lot of why I distrust education reform -- moving away from big government may well result in less accountability (e.g via small charters).

But having said that, it is an amazing piece where he correctly diagnoses how problems at the small government level are often left to fester.  A very important piece, and one I recommend reading. 

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