Only Washington can solve our problems. That, evidently, is what any voter or casual follower of American politics might forgivably conclude after listening to the Democrats who are vying to take on President Trump next year.
Myriad proposals are being thrown around for the federal government to provide health care for all, free education for all, and guarantee everyone jobs. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress have proposed the Green New Deal, which would essentially have the federal government take on the task of reinventing the energy industry and, well, the entire economy.
At this moment, however, what the United States does not need is further centralization in Washington. As PPI president Will Marshall has written, we have a “mismatch of scale” in terms of problem-solving. Washington is too big to deal effectively with life’s everyday problems yet too small to cope alone with things that spill over national borders: trade, climate, and action to contain pandemics, for example. That’s why we need more distributed problem-solving. And with Washington today mired in political dysfunction, we especially need more empowerment of state and, especially, local government.
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