Politics in My Backyard (PIMBY)

I have a theory that many local politicians have a vested interest in making life better in their neighborhoods.  I call it Politics in My Backyard (PIMBY).  This, of course, is not always true, but PIMBY is more likely to be found in local over either state or federal governments.

Generally, federal and state politicians get bogged down in self-serving, partisan voting.  This has caused the dysfunctional gridlock in DC.  I don’t see that much gridlock in city government, perhaps because many cities have managerial mayors and city managers, who treat city government more like running a business.

I suspect that even commissioners are less interested in partisan voting, but are more interested in what is best for themselves and hopefully the city.  But even if they vote for what is best for themselves, part of that is what is best for their backyard and community.  Some of them certainly must think about what is best for their children and grandchildren.

An undercurrent in all this is the nexus between city government and businesses and the local economy.  I believe this is different from the federal and state government where politicians work closely with special interest groups to obtain contributions to their campaigns.  Even though city politicians are enticed by businessmen and local power brokers to vote for specific actions, I see this as generally being beneficial to the community.  At the national and state levels, the special interest groups generally are not doing things that are especially helpful to citizens in local communities; while the actions by the city government, even if done for the personal gain of politicians, many times have a local benefit of some kind.

Congressmen have attempted to do things for their states in the past.  The term “pork barrel politics” usually refers to the type of spending which is intended to benefit supporters of a politician in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes.  “Pork” is a derogatory term since the expenditures generally are more focused on a special interest group within the state, rather than on the citizens of that state.

We need to think differently in order to turn our country around before it goes over the cliff, joining the other civilizations that have fallen.  Because of PIMBY, it makes sense to downsize the federal and state governments, providing more taxes and revenue to the local governments.  The local governments are closer to the issues that need attention and that actually will benefit the public.  Substituting the  local government for federal and state governments will avoid duplication of expenses at the higher levels and will allow the city government to focus on local issues, which they do better than anybody else.