Tense Commandments: Federal Prescriptions and City Problems

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Brookings Institution Press, 2002 - 218 halaman
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During the past decade, dozens of large cities lost population as jobs and people kept moving to the suburbs. Despite widespread urban revitalization and renewal, one fact remains unmistakable: when choosing where to live and work, Americans prefer the suburbs to the cities. Many underlying causes of the urban predicament are familiar: disproportionate poverty, stiff city tax rates, and certain unsatisfactory municipal services (most notably, public schools). Less recognized is the distinct possibility that sometimes the regulatory policies of the federal government the rules and rulings imposed by its judges, bureaucrats, and lawmakers further disadvantage the cities, ultimately burdening their ability to attract residents and businesses. In Tense Commandments, Pietro S. Nivola encourages renewed reflection on the suitable balance between national and local domains. He examines an array of directive or supervisory methods by which federal policymakers narrow local autonomy and complicate the work urban governments are supposed to do. Urban taxpayers finance many costly projects that are prescribed by federal law. A handful of national rules bore down on local governments before 1965. Today these governments labor under hundreds of so-called unfunded mandates.Federal aid to large cities has lagged behind a profusion of mandated expenditures, at times straining municipal budgets. Apart from their fiscal impacts, Nivola argues, various federal prescriptions impinge on local administration of routine services, tying the hands of managers and complicating city improvements. Nivola includes case studies of six cities: Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. He describes the "politics of paternalism," the political pressures that federal regulations place on governance. Then he offers comparisons with various political systems abroad, including Germany, the U.K., France, and Italy.As the nation and its cities brace for a long and arduous effort to combat terrorism, Nivola recommends that federal mandates be evaluated with a standard question: are they socially beneficial, or do they deprive localities of discretion, distort legitimate local priorities, and perhaps misallocate resources? In today's intricate federal system, the unencumbered capacity of governments at all levels to define their roles and concentrate on their core functions and responsibilities seems urgent.

 

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Introduction
1
Shift and Shaft
3
Exemplifying the Problem
8
Plan of the Book
10
Some Preliminaries
11
Problems
15
The Trouble with Localism
16
Mandating without Spending
17
Quantum Leap
95
The Rise of Environmentalism
98
The Age of Low Politics
101
The Courts in Charge
108
Mandates without Money
116
Summary
117
Comparative Politics
120
Fiscal Arrangements
121

The Yellow Line
21
One Size Does Not Fit All
26
Zero Tolerance
29
Adversarial Legalism
33
Curing or Abetting the Mischiefs of Faction?
39
Tales from Six Cities
49
Baltimore
50
Philadelphia
56
New York
64
Chicago
71
San Francisco
76
Los Angeles
83
Conclusions
88
The Politics of Paternalism
93
Legalism
126
Other Elements of American Exceptionalism
129
Decentralization
133
Conclusions
135
Conclusions
137
The March of Mandates
138
Too Much of a Good Thing
143
Nostrums
145
Making Progress
150
Retrenchment
155
Notes
161
Index
209
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Tentang pengarang (2002)

Pietro S. Nivola is a vice president of the Brookings Institution, where he is the director of Governance Studies. Among his previous books are Tense Commandments: Federal Prescriptions and City Problems (Brookings, 2002) and Agenda for the Nation, coedited with Henry J. Aaron and James M. Lindsay (Brookings, 2003).

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