By Eric Fruits, Ph.D.
Last week, a Craigslist post brought it home—we’re in the era of Do It Yourself Government.
The Craigslist post offered $50 an hour to so-called “real men” to monitor police scanners and to “find the troublemakers” vandalizing downtown Portland. It brought home the fact that many residents have lost confidence in their local government and are doing the jobs that government won’t or can’t do anymore.
They believe they’ve been abandoned. They’ve been abandoned by the police. They’re on their own to protect themselves and their property. They’ve been abandoned by the public schools. They’re on their own to teach their kids or set up learning pods. Some residents have even started filling the potholes in their local streets, because they’ve been abandoned by the transportation bureau.
It’s easy to think that some of our local governments have given up on us, and now it seems some local residents are giving up on them. How can voters keep supporting new taxes and higher taxes, when the money government already has isn’t being used to keep the promises politicians have already made?
When people take public safety into their own hands, it doesn’t end well. That’s what happens when local officials abandon their people.
Eric Fruits, Ph.D. is Vice President of Research at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.