Building An Empire

Remember when we used to have a republic, where elected officials at the lowest level of government handled the immediate needs of citizens? I almost do, too.

Which is why I find this development deeply disturbing:

The Obama administration is launching a pilot program designed to spark economic growth in urban America by partnering federal officials with local decision-makers in six cities, the U.S Housing and Urban Development secretary announced Monday.

The idea, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said, is to create what he called Community Solutions Teams, which will include employees from several different federal agencies, and have them work directly with local officials in Detroit; Chester, Pa.; Fresno, Calif.; Memphis; Cleveland and New Orleans.

The federal staffers will in effect be embedded in the cities, working on issues the mayors have identified as important, such as developing transportation infrastructure, improving job-training programs and the like. In Detroit, Donovan said, up to a dozen “federal folks” will be in town for a year or two.

Sure, a year or two.

And suddenly, the elected officials in these cities will do what the federal staffers want if the local officials want the money. The old way of doing it, where the feds offered dollars with lots of strings, was bad enough. Now they will be directly directing things at the local level.