My latest column is online at Governing. It is about America’s distributed governance system, and how it has many strengths as well as the weaknesses we like to bemoan. Here is an excerpt:
If there’s one level of government that’s most frequently touted as obsolete and an obstacle to progress, it’s state government. Yet it’s those much maligned states that have received the most praise during the crisis. In New York, it’s been Gov. Andrew Cuomo who has received far more kudos than New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Legendary New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia is credited with saying that there’s no Democratic or Republican way to pick up the garbage, showing the pragmatic nature of city leaders. But we’re seeing here that states, despite their own partisan divides, can be pragmatic too.
These three levels of government pushing at, and sometimes sniping at, each other may not look pretty in public, but it’s a system that so far has delivered results as good or better than those of Europe (if not as good as Asia).
The private sector is also doing its part. Technology firms like Zoom are enabling working from home, while Amazon and various delivery services keep products flowing direct to people’s doorsteps. Traditional retailers like Walmart and the grocery chain H-E-B adjusted to a surge in demand. While toilet paper may remain a tough find, there have been no major shortages of food or most home goods. The philanthropic and nonprofit sector has also sprung into action to address rapidly shifting social-service needs.
Click through to read the whole thing.
Chris Barnett says
Well, just wait. Meatpacking plants are starting to shut down for sick workers. Smithfield just announced the closure of a plant that supplies 5% of the nation’s pork, at the urging of South Dakota’s governor: https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/13/833110486/u-s-meat-supply-is-perilously-close-to-a-shortage-ceo-warns
What a humorous term for federalism.