Separation of Political Powers

There is a reason for the separation of powers in politics.

Local municipalities have decided that the need to act on issues, that are the responsibility of senior levels of government, is preferable to doing their own jobs. The temptation to reduce global warming overrides the need to issue building permits. The point is that any possible action they may take lies well beyond a city’s ability to make any measurable adjustment to national temperatures. This overreach inevitably results in a decrease in local economic productivity with a corresponding drop in income.

Many councillors do not make the connection between their actions and a lack of local housing; a key factor in making people homeless. Potential solutions now mean using local government funds, originally earmarked for other projects, to provide temporary accommodation. Local proponents follow the San Francisco example, “… that homelessness is caused largely by poverty and discrimination; the solution, (they say) is not to judge the poor souls that sleep rough but to spend more money on them.” (1)   This is something that the current local tax base is unable to support. The social problems that accompany the new residents eclipse the capacity of any municipal authority to resolve; principally because the treatment resources are complex and belong to other levels of government.

Support programs for the homeless, like many relationships, are easy to start but offer no clear way to get out. The longer they last, the greater the loss to local resources and the longer the period of sustained damage to community fabric. Local councils would be well advised to stick to parks and potholes and keep the pressure on senior governments to meet their obligations.

(1)  ‘San Fransicko’: How progressives ruin cities” Michael Shellenberger, Harper Collins 2021. Quote from review in The Telegraph, 5th December 2021