City Journal Winter 2014

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Stephen Eide
Autonomy and Its Limits « Back to Story

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There is an interesting legal tort in contract law that specifies that both parties must have an equal understanding of the terms of the contract for the contract to be valid.

But all of the unions [SEIU, teachers, etc.] just negotiate with some government bureaucrat. But the real second party is curiously ignored, to wit, the taxpayers. Oh, the bureaucrat claim to 'represent' the taxpayers, but I submit they do not. The union locals get to vote, but the taxpayers do not. When was a proposed contract with a union debated by the taxpayers? I submit the answer is never. No referendums at election time, no ballot initiatives, no special elections to approve what the bureaucrats have done. So the real second party is blithely ignorant of the consequences they must pay for. And that I submit makes the union contract invalid.

It is about time the taxpayers stood up to the bureaucrats and eliminated those unions.
The issue is also we are fully developed infrastructure wise, the average city outside the large draw card ones are ageing and less able to pay taxes even if they wanted to.
We, Westerners need to invest more and consume less, less Malls and more factories. Blue collar jobs, are usually full time and relatively well paid,men do them and rasie families on the wage. Retail is low paid and casual, few men can raise families on the wage, single Mum slave away in them, while the guys stay teenagers into their 30's. Think crew on a miltary ship and crew at McDonalds.
At least, advocate semi-autonomy for cities in conjunction with environs. In feudal times, walled bastions couldn't exist without their rural landholdings and then serfs in thrall.

The US federal model supposedly spreads responsibility and risk while maintaining a modicum of independent action on the part of states and cities, consisting of both urban and rural jurisdictions. It never was meant to be city v. not-city but city and countryside knitted regional economy and identity v. D.C.

The engineered Great Depression and ensuing FDR policy balkanized us into urban centers and country yokels to better centralize control and neuter common interest and power. How else would Lang's "Metropolis" be realized?
William Holland July 21, 2013 at 1:36 PM
The author of the article demonstrates a myopic grasp of autonomy, especially its informing relation to federalism.

Should we not expect a dominant rise of urban, local policy grievance shaped within the vortex of a militant positivism? We already have it.

How do we reconcile policy grievance to conflicting, binding norms shaped outside natural law? Lincoln discerned the field of intelligibility underwriting the South, especially its non-constitutive relation to moral norms animating the compact as Union.

Looks like we've come full circle. Only this time, were triumphing in the glory of misplaced nominalism.
"City officials, they suggest, should go on more international-trade junkets to help local firms gain access to foreign markets and attract foreign capital."

If this is one of their ideas, then I seriously think the authors are idiots.

I have used the services of both the US government and the Taiwan government for "helping" our business. (We export to the US from Taiwan and import in reverse as well.) In no case was any useful information, good contacts or any business opportunities created. Many states indeed used to have these expensive offices in Taiwan - now many are closed because they figured out that these are money sucks.

Encouraging city officials to go on these junkets will essentially be paying for their foreign vacations and that's about it.

Also, the foreigners with enough market share to actually invest in the US will already know a lot, and simply hire staff to do the scouting. City officials can do what other governments do - off the subsidies and tax deals, which IMHO should not be done - no special deals for certain companies - that is favoritism and unfair to other smaller businesses.
Good heavens! Here in Chicago, it's the rest of the state -- those backward, hardworking, taxpaying dopes -- who subsidize the many socialist idiocies of the one-party city. (And as anyone who's taken Econ 101 knows, if you subsidize something, you get more of it.) If separated from "downstate," Chicago's slow-but-sure ongoing descent would only accelerate. But maybe that would be a good thing....
Pipe dreams. Jane Jacobs made many of these suggestions and the reason it won't work is always the rest of the state. What would they do without NYC's money? They are a welfare case, with high taxes and no jobs so they can be park reserves for the elitist rich of NYC west side. Somehow no one addresses that, not even Weiner who as Mayoral Candiade for NY is proposing the same.
"More recently, states have revived their reputation as laboratories of experimentation in areas such as welfare reform and K12 public education." Indeed, as this website has repeatedly pointed out, Catholic schools, even (and especially) in ghettos, far outdistance the aforementioned "laboratories of experimentation." The ageless wisdom of God will never be surpassed, no matter how generation after degeneration of human intellectual pride attempts to disprove it.
There is, indeed, "much to be said for cities' sticking to their knitting'". Ironic that this review should appear (online, at least) the day that the City of Detroit declares bankruptcy. The complaint that cities are too encumbered by state (and federal) regulations rings hollow when one considers how ineffective many of our cities are when it comes to the basic services (like snow removal, pot-hole repair, etc) that they seem unable to provide. And when mayors travel to foreign lands (e.g., China) to attract investment, yet these same mayors are unable to give sufficient attention to the problems plaguing their constituents (those who live within the city's boundaries), one is left wondering whether these politicians truly understand the extent of their mandate. Mr. Eide, you've done a great service reminding cities (and their governing officials) that their responsibilities lie closer to home.