Richard Florida is a co-founder and editor at large of CityLab and a senior editor at The Atlantic. He is a university professor in the University of Toronto’s School of Cities and Rotman School of Management, and a distinguished fellow at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate.
61 percent of Americans have a favorable view of their local government.
With partisan gridlock and congressional dysfunction, Americans may have lost faith in their federal government, but an overwhelming majority view state and local government favorably. More than 6 in 10 Americans hold favorable views of state and local government, while just 33 percent view the federal government favorably – down from 64 percent a decade ago.
A recent survey from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that these favorable sentiments toward local government have held relatively steady since 2002, dropping from 67 percent to 61 percent in 2012. That's compared with favorable views of the federal government, which have plummeted from 64 percent 10 years ago to just 33 percent today.
A growing number of studies note the increased importance of cities and metro areas to the national and global economies. Alice Rivlin of the Brookings Institution long ago said that productivity and innovation policy is best made at the local level. Perhaps a further shift in political power away from the feds and toward states and cities is in order. This wouldn't only benefit the economy, but help restore Americans' faith in their political institutions.