A major issue that plagues our contemporary Republic is evolution of the politician as an independently functioning middleman.
In our interactions with each other, we have found it necessary (and it is intended to be beneficial) to institute governments among men as a proxy for individual citizens to address the general business of the public at large, hence the construction of our country’s form of representative government instead of a direct democracy. We have entrusted these representatives as middlemen, agents on our behalf in the transactional world of governance and public services, situated as a liaison between the citizen taxpayer and the provider of those public services.
What happens when the middlemen abuse their positions, are poor stewards of the public trust or substitute their judgment for the will of the people?
These officials have the responsibility to all of the people, not just some of the people. What is breaking these cities? Apparently a big part of the problem are payrolls and pensions:
The Bay Area city of Vallejo began the current trend in May 2008, filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection because, city leaders said, salaries and benefits for its public safety workers were eating up too much of the general fund.
While I am not going to argue that we don’t need firefighters and police, I am going to argue that the politicians have a responsibility to the taxpayer to manage the affairs of the public in a prudent manner. Part of that is being clear with the public on the true cost of what they are asking the government to do, instead of using the public trust and money to accumulate favors or power.
Now it appears, at least in California, some cities are just going to disappear.
“There are likely to be more in the future, but it’s hard to know, since a lot of struggling cities may manage to work things out,” said Michael Coleman, a fiscal policy advisor for the California League of Cities. “Some cities may not go into a bankruptcy, but they may dissolve. They may cease to exist.”
There are those on the left who would be calling for these people to go to jail if they worked for a private business.